Joins the likes of China, Iran for hanging most death-row prisoners in a year
ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan hanged the murderer of a former Punjab chief minister, it joined the likes of China and Iran as one of the top three executioners of death-row prisoners in a calendar year.
Zaman, who was convicted of killing Haider Wyne, was hanged in Central Jail Multan on Thursday, bringing Pakistan’s tally to 260 since the government lifted a moratorium on capital punishment following the Army Public School massacre in December last year.
Executions so far this year are the highest for Pakistan in a single calendar year over the past decade, and already outstrip the 179 executions carried out in the country from 2007-2014.
According to data gathered from Amnesty International and the ministry of Interior, Pakistan has sent at least 432 condemned prisoners to the gallows since 2007, while awarding death sentence to 2,196 prisoners in that time. While there were no executions for nearly five years from 2009-2013, when an unofficial moratorium was in effect, courts went on to sentence at least 2,196 people to death during this time.
China and Iran top the list of countries for the most executions since 2007 with 2,727 and 2,635 executions, respectively. They sentenced at least 8,863 and 407 people to death in this time. Saudi Arabia comes in third with 671 executions and 114 death penalty awards. Iraq is fourth with 615 executions and 1,574 sentences. America is fifth on the list with 337 executions and 733 death penalty convictions.
“Developments around the death penalty in Pakistan since December last year have been extremely alarming,” says Olof Blomqvist of Amnesty International.”
Zohra Yusuf, the chairperson of Human Right Commission of Pakistan, observed that there were few prisoners who were hanged involved in terror-related crimes.
However, a former Punjab police chief and a caretaker interior minister Malik Habib justified the hangings as executions are important for Pakistan’s existing security environment. “It will bring a positive impact to our fight against terrorism,” Malik told The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2015.