Death penalty opposed by terrorists and HR activists


Lahore: Removal of moratorium on death penalty by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after the Peshawar incident has started debate in Pakistan, bringing terrorist outfits and human rights activists on the same page against it.

After the carnage in Peshawar’s school that killed 150 people including 134 children in Army Public School, Pakistan removed the ban on death penalty to track down militants and criminals.

Execution of criminals of capital punishment stopped in 2008 when the government of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) signed a de facto moratorium. Removal of the ban has ignited a debate in the society. According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, there are over 8,000 prisoners on death row in Pakistan at present.

Human rights activist and former President of Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir while talking to News Lens Pakistan opposed the decision. She said, “The decision of executing prisoners on death row is taken by an emotionally-charged government in revenge after Peshawar attack.” She was of the view that the government should devise a comprehensive policy against terrorists and revitalize criminal justice system.

She said, “The past practice in Pakistan shows that the government framed laws against terrorism in haste which let off the powerful while the poor fell victim to such decisions.” Jahangir also opined that there is no other solution to terrorism but wise decisions and equality before law.

Jamal Khan, 24, a clerk in Systems Software Company, is waiting for exemplary punishment for all criminals. “All Taliban militants, who killed our children, should be hanged without any delay,” he said while talking to News Lens Pakistan.

Director Human Rights Commission of Pakistan I A Rehman told News Lens Pakistan, “I appreciated execution of terrorists as the circumstances demand prompt action against them after Peshawar massacre. The whole nation wanted exemplary punishment for them.” But, permanent solution does not lie in executions and military courts, he added.

“It is not possible for any government to hang all criminals,” Rehman opined. “The root of terrorism should be diagnosed and treated accordingly. Otherwise, we will have to see more violence.”

A supporter of Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), seeking anonymity, told News Lens Pakistan, “It will be unfair to hang people belonging to TTP or its allied groups only. The rule should be applied to all.”

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