Capital punishment: Moratorium on death penalty to continue

Published: October 4, 2013
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The federal government will retain the moratorium on capital punishment for at least a few more weeks until the country’s top two leaders hold a meeting to review the measure. PHOTO: FILE

The federal government will retain the moratorium on capital punishment for at least a few more weeks until the country’s top two leaders hold a meeting to review the measure. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

The federal government will retain the moratorium on capital punishment for at least a few more weeks until the country’s top two leaders hold a meeting to review the measure, officials said on Thursday.

Since 2008, Pakistani authorities have executed only a couple of death row prisoners following a moratorium on capital punishment. There are around 8,000 prisoners on death row in more than five dozen jails of the country.

“No new development so far. The moratorium on capital punishment will continue – until the president and the prime minister meet to take a final decision on the matter,” interior ministry spokesperson Omar Hameed Khan told The Express Tribune.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain will hold a meeting within the next couple of weeks to take a final decision either to lift the ban or continue the previous government’s decision, officials added.

In August this year, the European Union (EU) cautioned Pakistan that lifting the moratorium will be viewed as a major setback in the 28-member bloc and possibly affect Islamabad’s quest for duty-free access to European markets.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had directed the interior ministry to halt executions till further orders. The instructions had come in the wake of the foreign ministry’s recommendations to avail the Generalised Scheme of Preference (GSP).

Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had advised then president Asif Ali Zardari to impose a five-year moratorium on capital punishment which expired on June 30 this year.

Appeal from international watchdog

The International Commission of Jurists has urged the Pakistani government to make the moratorium permanent.

“This is a step forward for human rights in Pakistan,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Asia-Pacific Director, according to a press release.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Oct 4, 2013 - 9:30AM

    *Dear All
    It is surprising to hear from the International Commission of Jurists and human rights organizations in Pakistan to permanently freeze the subject punishment. I think we should close all the courts of Justice so that there is no fear of punishment. And by the way let me know that why Human Right Organizations help criminals. Is all the human rights are for criminals *

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  • Anita Turab
    Oct 4, 2013 - 1:18PM

    These convicts should be expelled to EU states where they can be given asylum and integrated in the communities. If the government is so keen on keeping international commitments instead of providing justice to its own people then there should be a condition of settling these child rapists, murderers and terrorists abroad…c’mon then Sweden…Norway…Switzerland these people need your help also!!

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  • goggi (Lahore)
    Oct 4, 2013 - 4:13PM

    @Anita Turab:
    Death punishment in the name of the People, is a premeditated cold-blooded murder. The whole society is jointly responsible for grievances such as mass unemployment, mass prostitution, mass child abuse, very huge education deficits, mass drug abuse, huge scale bribery, thieves, murderers………………………………………………………..etc etc !!!!

    Instead of wasting your precious energy for negative actions, understand please, that our sick and corrupt social system is built on deceit, fraud and injustice. Our social system does not grant our people equal opportunities to a fair competition and success in life. And there are millions in our society, who have absolute no opportunities at all. On one side you see castle-like bungalows in posh societies and on the same roads you see people living on footpaths. How sick can a society be?
    Before we collectively kill a putative killer, and turn ourselves in killers, we can surely try to prevent the potential crimes. You can today feed one hungry child with your own sweet hands and glances…………as if it was your child!!!

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  • Oct 5, 2013 - 3:44PM

    Here is hoping that Prime Minister Sharif and President Hussain will decide on extending the moratorium on the death penalty in Pakistan.
    Islamabad will be setting an example to its neighbours: Iran, Afghanistan, China and India are all addicted to the death penalty.
    Pakistan has had some respite from the use of the death penalty, with — one can be absolutely sure — no significant rise in crime as a result. The death penalty is not a deterrent, as statistical analysis of crime rates in abolitionist and retentionist states show.
    Moreover, there are Islamic states such as Turkey and some Central Asian -stans that have given up the death penalty. Indonesia and Malaysia are also under domestic and external pressure to take to that enlightened route.
    Pakistan can be a beacon and an example in this part of Asia.

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