PAKISTAN: PM NAWAZ HALTS DEATH SENTENCE TO 468 INMATES
August 27, 2013: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has suspended the implementation of capital punishment to 468 inmates including terrorists and others who were sentenced to death by military courts in Pakistan.
According to the sources at Ministry of Interior, the Prime Minister postponed the capital punishments till further orders after holding consultation with President Asif Ali Zardari.
The sources further said that there is a pressure on Pakistan from European Union (EU) to scrap the law permitting the death sentence. The EU has set this demand as a condition to give Pakistani exports a priority status.
On 17 August, Geo News reported that President Zardari had blocked the execution of two death row prisoners, according to jail officers. Death row inmate Behram Khan was to be hanged on 21 August at the Karachi Central Jail while the other prisoner, Munir Hussain, was to be executed on 22 August at Punjabâs Vehari prison. According to the report, both the prisoners were involved in several murders.
According to Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists (IJP), an anti-terrorism court in Sindh province had issued warrants for the execution of two more death row inmates, both members of the banned sectarian and militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Attaullah alias Qasim and Muhammad Azam alias Sharif were convicted by an anti-terrorism court in July 2004 for the killing of a doctor. They were scheduled to be executed between 20 and 22 August.
On 18 August, a government spokesman said that the President of Pakistan had sent a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that he wanted to meet the PM to discuss the issue of the long-pending death sentence on hundreds of convicted prisoners. The spokesman said that as the date of executions was approaching and the president was out of the country, the prime minister had directed the Interior Ministry to hold everything regarding the execution of death sentences till the conclusion of the meeting between the Prime Minister and the Head of State. (Sources: Geo News, 17-27/08/2013; The News, 18/08/2013)