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World News \ Asia

Rights group says Pakistan among leading executioners

Pakistani activists protesting against death penalty.  - AFP

Pakistani activists protesting against death penalty. - AFP

07/07/2017 12:00

A Pakistani rights group says that the nation has executed 464 prisoners since it lifted a moratorium on capital punishment, after a Taliban attack on a school in late 2014.  The Justice Project Pakistan, which is opposed to capital punishment, says Pakistan now has the fifth highest rate of executions in the world, after China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the Associated Press reported.  The rights group says Pakistan has executed 44 people this year, around the same rate as the previous year, in which 87 people were executed.

Pakistan halted executions in 2008 due to pressure from rights groups but reinstated capital punishment following an attack by militants on an army-run school in Peshawar on 16 December, 2014, that killed some 150 people, mostly children.

The European Parliament last month criticized Pakistan's human rights record, calling for the abolition of the death penalty and to commute all death sentences to various terms of imprisonment.  In a resolution endorsed unanimously on 13 June, EU parliament members said Pakistan was abusing the capital punishment to fulfil its political aims in trials related to civilians. 

Last month, Pakistan sentenced a man to death in what has become the first ever capital punishment for online blasphemy.  An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on 10 June convicted Taimoor Raza for sharing offensive content about Islam on social media, the Dawn reported.  Shafiq Qureshi, public prosecutor in Bahawalpur, south of provincial capital Lahore said the 30-year-old man community had allegedly posted derogatory content about prominent Sunni religious figures and wives of the Holy Prophet Muhammad on Facebook.  (Source: AP/…)


07/07/2017 12:00