Pakistan to hasten execution of 55 convicts

KARACHI: The government has expedited the execution of long-pending death sentences to dozens of convicts of terrorism in order to implement its decision to end the ban on the capital sentence in the country for the past eight years.

Under the first phase, 55 men would be hung till death in pursuance of the government decision to revoke the death sentence in the country, which was suspended to get a generalised preference system (GSP) facility for the country’s exports to the EU.

The implementation on the death sentence of 55 convicts could be done sooner as their mercy petitions were rejected by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the President of Pakistan, the ultimate office to review such petitions.

At least eight of the 55 convicts were sentenced to death for committing terrorism acts. However, the authorities were also pondering over the spirit of the government orders as to how to enforce the restoration of the capital punishment.

Apparently, the Prime Minister office had issued the orders for revoking the death penalty for those convicts who were sentenced in terrorism cases.

A primary compilation of data suggested that all over the country at least 522 convicts were languishing in jails as their fate hung in balance because of the suspension of the capital punishment. Of total convicts 11 were those who were sentenced in military courts of the country.

The largest number of death sentence convicts belonged to the Punjab province where the number of convicts was 465, followed by 30 in Khyber Pakhtunkhaw; 14 in Sindh province; and 13 in Baluchistan province.

Sources said that the execution of the death sentence is likely to start within a week and interior ministry had started to speedily furnish the process of pending mercy appeals. They further said that in the first phase some 120 mercy petitions would be submitted to the president for his perusal.

If the president rejects the appeals, they would be referred to the provincial home departments for issuing death warrants of the convicts and their executions immediately.

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