Islamabad, January 16 (AFP): Pakistan announced this week that authorities have executed 332 criminals and militants since lifting a moratorium on the death penalty in 2014, the first time an official tally has been released.Also Read - Delhi CM's Free Pilgrimage Scheme: Kejriwal Govt Includes Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. Details Here
The South Asian nation unveiled a sweeping plan to curb militancy after Taliban assailants gunned down more than 150 people, most of them children, at an army-run school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. Also Read - T20 WC 2021 India-Pakistan Match Most Watched in T20I History, ICC Reveal Staggering Numbers
A six-year moratorium on the country’s death penalty was lifted and the constitution amended to allow military courts to try those accused of carrying out attacks. Read Also: (Ban Ki-moon offers support for India Pakistan talks) Also Read - Mohammad Amir Lists Down Reasons For Every Bowler To Play T10 Format
Hangings were initially reinstated only for those convicted of terrorism, but in March they were extended to all capital offences.
In a written reply submitted to the parliament on Friday, the Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control said 332 people had been executed in the country.
However opponents of the policy stress that Pakistan’s legal system is unjust, with rampant police torture and poor representation for victims during unfair trials, while the majority of those who are hanged are not convicted of terror charges.
“They (government) are hanging petty criminals but known terrorists on death row are awaiting their punishment for years,” Asma Jahangir, a lawyer and human rights activist in Pakistan, told AFP.
The plan “can succeed only if it is fully implemented, but here we see a selective or very little implementation,” she said.
She went on to accuse the government of failing to act consistently, citing the men convicted of murdering journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002, who were handed death sentence years ago but have yet to be hanged.
But supporters of the plan argue that executions are the only effective way to deal with the scourge of militancy in Pakistan.
According to the report submitted to parliament, 172 religious seminaries across the country have been also been closed on suspicions of having links to militant organisations.
Ten websites related to militant activity had also been blocked, it said, while more than 70 shops have been shuttered throughout Pakistan for selling material deemed to promote hate speech.