Pakistan has executed 465 prisoners since lifting a moratorium on death penalty in 2014, becoming the “fifth most prolific executioner” in the world, according to an organisation working for prisoners’ rights. The use of death penalty has failed to curb crime, including terrorism, but it is exceedingly used as a political tool, sometimes even as a jail overcrowding solution, Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) has claimed in a report.
“It is a high number of the executions that made Pakistan ‘fifth most prolific executioner’ in the world, following China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq,” the report said.
A data analysis by the organisation showed a total of 465 prisoners have been executed during the last two-and-a-half-years since the country lifted moratorium on executions.
It said that the Pakistani government justifies lifting of the moratorium by claiming it is necessary to deter terrorist threat to the country.
“The government is mostly hanging terrorists through military courts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and through anti-terrorism courts in Sindh,” the report said.
The maximum number of executions were carried out in the eastern Punjab province which accounts for 83 per cent of the total executions, and 89 per cent of total death sentences.
JPP Executive Director Sarah Belal said: “Pakistan’s troubling and continued use of the death penalty has continuously fallen short of meeting its international human rights commitments and fair trial standards, as well as our own domestic laws”.
“The death penalty is not an effective tool to curb militancy and crime,” she said, adding that it is time for the stakeholders to commit to genuine reforms in criminal justice system, and until it is done, to restore the moratorium on the death penalty.
Pakistan lifted a self-imposed moratorium on death penalty in terror related cases in December 2014 after Taliban militants massacred at least 150 people, mostly students, at an army-run school in Peshawar.