London, December 23 – Pakistan’s plan to execute 500 militants who have been awarded death sentence is “deeply disturbing” and would do nothing to protect civilians from the conflict with Taliban, a leading Rights group has said.
“The planned execution figures being quoted are deeply disturbing and indicate a huge regression from a government which until last week maintained a moratorium on executions,” David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director said on Monday.
“Pakistan suffered an horrific tragedy in Peshawar last week, but resorting to the death penalty and threatening to carry out large numbers of executions masks rather than addresses the underlying problems that need to be tackled by the government? namely that communities living in the north-west of Pakistan are gravely at risk from violence and human rights abuses,” Griffiths said.
Pakistan on Monday said that it is preparing to execute at least 55 more death-row terrorists among the 500 condemned militants after their mercy appeals were rejected following the end of a 2008 moratorium on death penalty.
“The speed with which these executions are taking place raises big questions about how meaningful the review of the mercy petitions ? the last safeguards in death penalty cases? has been in a country where trials are systemically flawed,” Griffiths added.
“Not only would executing death row prisoners do nothing to protect civilians caught up in this conflict, it could ratchet up the already very high level of violence in Pakistan,” he said.
On Friday, Pakistan carried out its first executions since 2012 when two men convicted over their role in two separate Taliban attacks were hanged. Four death-row terrorists were executed on Sunday for attacking former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf 11 years back, taking the number of hanged prisoners to six.
The Pakistani interior ministry on Monday said that more than 500 militants who have been awarded death sentence by courts were in the line of execution after the government lifted a ban on the death penalty following the Peshawar school massacre in which 148 people, mostly children, were killed.
In Pakistan, many death sentences are handed down after trials that do not meet international fair trial standards, the Amnesty International said. The Rights group added that it opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.