Pakistan has rejected calls by UN and EU to revive moratorium on execution of convicts, saying “capital punishment for terrorists does not violate international law”.
“Pakistan respects the international community, but the country is passing through extraordinary circumstances, which demand extraordinary measures to be taken,” a government spokesman was quoted as saying by Dawn news.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had called Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on December 25 and asked for halting the executions.
“Peaceful Pakistan is in the best interest of the world. Pakistan is cognisant of its obligations under UN Human Rights Conventions/Covenants. Execution of terrorists violates no international law,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said on her twitter account.
Nawaz Sharif had during the conversation assured the UN Secretary General that all legal norms would be respected while handing down sentences to terrorists and during the execution of the sentences.
“The Secretary-General spoke on the phone with Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan, on 25 December 2014. While fully recognizing the difficult circumstances, the Secretary-General urged the Government of Pakistan to stop the executions of convicts and re-impose the moratorium on the death penalty,” a readout by Ban’s spokesperson stated yesterday.
The European Union too had called for halting the executions by the Pakistan government.
“We believe that the death penalty is not an effective tool in the fight against terrorism. The EU Delegation regrets the decision of the Government of Pakistan to lift the moratorium on executions, which had been in place since 2008.
“The EU remains opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances. We hope that the moratorium will be re-established at the earliest,” a statement by the EU delegation to Pakistan said.
The United States, however termed it an “internal matter of Pakistan.”
“The number of Pakistanis is larger than the other countries affected by the war against terrorism and which shows that extremism is a joint risk for both Pakistan and America, plus in this regard America is in contact with Pakistan government.
“Implementation on execution of people involved in terrorism is an internal matter of Pakistan and US is not involved in this issue,” Marie Harf, Spokesperson for US State Department said.
The Pakistan government had lifted moratorium on executions after the Taliban massacred 150 people mostly children, during an attack on the army public school in Peshawar on December 16.
So far six people, convicted of attacks on GHQ and former president Pervez Musharraf, have been executed.
Pakistan has around 8,000 death-row inmates awaiting execution. But confusion still prevails whether the government has lifted moratorium only in terrorism cases.