Lifting moratorium ‘a flawed response to Peshawar school attack’: HRW

Published: December 18, 2014
On December 17, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif decided to end a moratorium on the death penalty in terror-related cases,   PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/EXPRESS

On December 17, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif decided to end a moratorium on the death penalty in terror-related cases, PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/EXPRESS

NEW YORK: Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday termed Pakistan’s decision to lift a ban on capital punishment as ‘flawed and reckless response’ to the horrific Peshawar school attack and urged Pakistan to reinstate the moratorium on death penalty as a step toward its abolition.

On December 17, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif decided to end a moratorium on the death penalty in terror-related cases, a day after Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan gunmen killed 141 people, including 132 children, in an attack on a school in Peshawar.

“Reinstating the death penalty is a flawed and reckless response to the horrific Peshawar attack,” said HRW Deputy Asia Director Phelim Kine.

“The Peshawar attack demands government action to actually address the security threat posed by militant groups, not a knee-jerk reaction that will result in more needless deaths.”

Terming the death penalty ‘an inherently cruel and irrevocable punishment’ that would not help in protecting civilians from terrorist attacks, Kine said “The Pakistan government can take a powerful symbolic stand against the mass murder in Peshawar by reaffirming its opposition to killing and immediately reinstating the death penalty moratorium.”

The premier abolished the moratorium on the death penalty for non-military personnel “in terrorism related cases,” instituted by then President Asif Ali Zardari in 2008. As of July 2014 there were 800 people on death row in Pakistan for “terrorism” convictions and another 17,000 people undergoing prosecution for alleged terrorism offenses.

HRW said it opposes the death penalty in all circumstances because of its inherent cruelty.

A joint report issued earlier in December by the nongovernmental human rights organisations Justice Project Pakistan and Reprieve concluded that the high number of people on death row for terrorism-related convictions reflects an “overuse” of anti-terrorism laws by Pakistan’s security forces and judiciary. The report states that “instead of being reserved for the most serious cases of recognisable acts of terror, the anti-terror legislation is in fact being used to try ordinary criminal cases, either in a deliberate attempt to evade the procedural safeguards guaranteed by ordinary courts or due to the vague and overly broad definitions of ‘terrorism’ in the legislation.”

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Reader Comments (40)

  • APS
    Dec 18, 2014 - 9:55PM

    Did you see the faces of our martyred children? Do you how know they were martyred?
    Do you know how these terrorists get courage to kill anyone they want?
    I just wish your loved ones get slaughtered like that, maybe then you’ll get the answers.


  • abid
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:04PM

    what is bad in giving death to a killer ??Recommend

  • Shuaib
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:21PM

    I thought that too, but there is no deterrent in Pakistan. This is the only deterrent that will work.


  • adil
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:27PM


    We should not wish this for anyone what we witnessed in Peshawar!! I hope u didnt mean what you said. needless to say i support the pms action to reinstate hanging by death penalty.


  • Farwa
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:28PM

    HRW should first give their thoughts on israeli forces murdering children and arresting minors. Shame on them that they have the heart to stand to support the rights of murderers as human beings. Humanity is far more than what they think it is. Its our children who have been brutally killed and its us who are grieved. They can give such statements becausr their children are safe and they’re living happily. We as a nation are mourning and wont stand such interference from anyone. We know what humanity is better than HRW and we can handle our problems well. Stop interfering and poking your nose and if you do want to interfere then stop the war on children in palestine by israel first.


  • Farwa
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:34PM

    HRW should Stop interfering, specially when they cannot do anything good. Shame on these bigots for raising voices for murderers. We know humanitu better than them and humanity is far more than what they think it is. If they do want to raise voice for humanity then go and support the people of Gaza against first. Raise your voice against war on children of gaza by Israel. Raise your voice to support humanity and not for murderers of human innocent beings.


  • abs
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:44PM

    HRW my foot, how brutally our little angles were executed they wouldn’t know sitting in their posh office’s so called HR activists, kill these monster’s


  • Reason
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:48PM

    No one should ever, ever wish that for someone


  • khan
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:51PM

    Who is HRW to decide if lifting the ban is flawed or not ?A criminal is given death penalty after he/she is proved guilty for a crime and in this case these are terrorists who are to be punished for their heinous crimes. They are even given a chance for a fair trial i don’t get it why can’t they be executed .America can kill any one on any soil and later justify it by labeling them “SUSPECTED MILITANTS” HRW should also watch out as what happens to these “SUSPECTED MILITANTS” after an American drone attack ….none of them make it out alive Isn’t that another form of execution? that also without a trial??


  • Ehtesham Rabbani
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:55PM

    Dear Ms. Kine,
    We will not have any objection to set them free when a legislation is made in NA to do so.

    These terrorist had been awarded death pelanty by the courts after a trial.

    For once the authorities are going to upheld the law n justice and now you have the humanity lesson for us. Please let people in Pakistan start doing the right things according to law and stop washing west’s dirty laundry in our backyard.



  • Faisal
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:58PM

    Like the Taliban are scared of death penalty anyway. Death penalty essentially means we are regressing, it cannot be properly implemented, you can bet that innocent people will be hanged as a result of it.


  • Asif
    Dec 18, 2014 - 11:05PM

    The concept of justice is different in the west. Killing someone sometimes entails communal work or few months in prison with bail – check this


  • csmann
    Dec 19, 2014 - 12:10AM

    No use faulting HRW.That is their stated position on death penalty anywhere.It is not interference in any country’s affairs.But terrorist convicts is entirely different.Leaving them alive is like encouraging terrorists .They know they eventually will be freed by terrorists outside.The moratorium can be considered again after the terrorism ends in Pakistan.For now executing convicted terrorists is the need of the hour.


  • numbersnumbers
    Dec 19, 2014 - 12:44AM

    What a joke! If the children of the HRW executive council were slaughtered/maimed/raped by terrorists or criminals, those same clowns would be screaming for blood!
    Look at the fiasco in Norway, where the mass killer of children is now suing the state on a regular basis asking for endless perks in prison, and has only received a 20 year sentence for his crime!


  • Ahsan Bhai
    Dec 19, 2014 - 1:07AM

    Dear Human Rights Watch,
    You seem to be butt hurt about lifting of moratorium on death penalty. Don’t you see how they butchered our 132 innocent kids a couple of days ago who were only 9-16 years old. What I fail to understand is your government’s double standards. On one hand they say Pakistan is not doing enough to punish them and when it does some thing, here you come whining about your human rights. First of, they are not humans. And since you are a “Human Rights Watch”, this doesn’t fall in your domain. I will also not put them in the animal category because then your “Animal Rights” activist will stand up for their rights. They are indeed worse than animals. Secondly, if you are so championed in human rights then why don’t you ask your government about killing of innocent children and women in drone strikes? Saudi beheadings of drug traffickers who are often not even given a fair trial? Why doesn’t US sanction Saudis and break all diplomatic ties with them? At least in this case, they were given a trial and are convicted criminals.


  • Alter Ego
    Dec 19, 2014 - 2:37AM

    You have no right to dictate how we run our own country.


  • Kinza
    Dec 19, 2014 - 4:47AM

    Please shut up HRW and mind your own business.


  • csmann
    Dec 19, 2014 - 6:52AM

    @Ahsan Bhai:
    HRW is an international body,not under USA .


  • Jigz Khan
    Dec 19, 2014 - 9:51AM

    Look at the brave people feedback on your disgusting arguments about ‘end of moratorium on death penalty from Animals’. you just do not poke your nose in to our matters and stay away. good societies only prevails when there is strong system of justice and this is necessity of era.
    Raise your so called voices against whatever happening in Guantanamo bay Jail, RAISE YOU VOICES ABOUT CIA’S CRUELTY AND BRUTALITY.


  • Unarmed Citizen
    Dec 19, 2014 - 10:05AM

    At this point government is doing it on revenge taking policy, other side will also take revenge which will destroy more unprotected and unarmed citizens. Its a never ending vicious cycle.


  • Ahmad Khan
    Dec 19, 2014 - 10:08AM

    We want Public Hangings, a clear message to every criminal.


  • Rizvi
    Dec 19, 2014 - 12:45PM

    Dear HRW,

    Our children’s blood has more rights than the killers. Working on a premise that the killer should be left to live so that he may repent sounds ‘humanistic’, but it predominantly ignores all the rights of the deceased victim. To forgive an accidental / neglectful death is still a plausible cause as opposed to leaving these killers to live and then rejoin society on some technicality.

    When you murder without remorse, you should be put to the sword without remorse. Otherwise there will be no justice. Our children’s blood demands it of us and we will heed its call.


  • Atif
    Dec 19, 2014 - 1:47PM

    This evil Human Rights Watch group has nothing to say about the innocent children of Peshawar and is least concerned about their and their families rights instead it is trying to safeguard would-be suicide bomber.

    Shame on HRW !


  • Kamran
    Dec 19, 2014 - 2:32PM

    HRW is so naive that they don’t even understand the basic fact that these terrorists are not humans! so HRW should shut up and mind its own business!


  • Khalid
    Dec 19, 2014 - 2:43PM

    HRW just needs somthing to do. These type of people issuing these statements while being in the comfort of their warm beds. These HRW people are no different then the lal masjid Cleriks and other taliban oppologists. If they dont have the courage to stand for right and just keep breaking bread by criticizing people against taliban, then just please leave. HRW really is evil.


  • Khalid
    Dec 19, 2014 - 2:44PM

    Shame HRW, really shame on you, stupid self centered, low life illitrates.


  • Paindoo
    Dec 19, 2014 - 3:21PM

    We are facing the scourge of terrorism and we will deal with it ourselves. Keep your nose out of our affairs!Recommend

  • Ali S
    Dec 19, 2014 - 3:21PM

    If HRW cares so much about the human rights of child killers and other assorted murderer scum beyond hope, it should enter them in a rehab facility in Norway or Sweden or any other European ‘human rights paradise’ and fund their stay on its own money – Pakistan has had enough, we don’t have the resources or the patience to deal with this after 16/12


  • Nayha
    Dec 19, 2014 - 3:58PM

    Keep ur crap to urself HRW. all these countries like uk n usa interfere for no one but cannot provide any genuine help.


  • Wajid Awan
    Dec 19, 2014 - 6:13PM

    HRW..Are you challenging the verdict of the Creator?A killer has to be killed. I feel real sorry for your double standards.


  • Pakistani
    Dec 19, 2014 - 10:16PM

    If you want them. Take them. They have no place in our society.


  • Zulfiqar
    Dec 19, 2014 - 10:22PM

    They will die any ways, either by a bullet or by hanging, its the same thing you Yankees


  • Anon Dubey
    Dec 19, 2014 - 11:20PM

    HRW….This is crap….You cant reform these individuals….When Pests infest your farm what do you do; try to reform them…They cant be…right? when rodents invade your home….you reform them hoping they become Stuart Little??

    I think this is one of the best actions and decisions…


  • Arshad
    Dec 20, 2014 - 12:22AM

    Fully endorsed the HRW statement……how we as an human can justify killing…even those beasts deserved fair trial….overuse of anti terrorism laws is revenge and not justice….peshawar tragedy is so devastating…..but still we need to come up with well reasoned response….hanging and then making it public through media will further traumatize us…..public hanging is the trade mark of those beasts talibans…Revenge alone is not justice………terrorism in pakistan is not spreading because there was moratorium on DP…..and its not going to be over even after revoking it……….overuse of anti terrorism laws is revenge and not justice….peshawar tragedy is so devastating…..but still we need to come up with well reasoned response….hanging and then making it public through media will further traumatize us…..public hanging is the trade mark of those beasts talibans…Revenge alone is not justice…..Pirzada Sahib…..terrorism in pakistan is not spreading because there was moratorium on DP…..and its not going to be over even after revoking it…..


  • Arshad
    Dec 20, 2014 - 12:44AM

    @Ahmad Khan:
    Sir,, public hanging is the trade mark of those beasts who killed our demanding public hanging we are toeing the line of those very beasts….please rethink….


  • Toba Alu
    Dec 20, 2014 - 2:21PM


    Agree 100%.. Deep soul searching is required as how these sick minds have been developed. Free wiil being an illusion, one has to examine their upbringing and in some cases analyse their genes as well.


  • intellectual.pseudo
    Dec 20, 2014 - 5:49PM

    Shutup HRW, you please shut your mouth and don’t meddle in our affairs.

    Death penalty should always prevail. Khoon ka badla khoon.

    Please preach this menace some where else.


  • Omer Farooq
    Dec 20, 2014 - 10:23PM

    Those who are proved guilty of murder should be hanged. Its not the govt job to provide protection and other facilities to the criminals. HRW is taking side to the criminals by condemning the PM’s decision which will set example for criminals for the consequences of their heinous crimes.


  • NO to HRW
    Dec 20, 2014 - 10:41PM

    OMG, Not again. HRW always remains silent on extreme acts of powerful countries and when underdeveloped country tries to eliminate zombies then this HRW thing wakes up again. This means that they have soft corner for zombies only. Can you believe how they killed children in school? all of them were killed with head shots.They are not human, they are zombies. Now i have doubt on the structure of HRW. HRW please first do something against Saudi Arabia, dont put your head inside into everyone’s washroom.


  • hassan
    Dec 21, 2014 - 12:23AM

    @Anon Dubey:


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