Pakistan’s government should immediately halt executions, reinstate the moratorium on the death penalty, and move toward abolition, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday in a joint letter with Amnesty International to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
In the year since the country’s six-year moratorium on executions was lifted, Pakistan has carried out more than 300 executions. Those executed include child offenders, defendants who received blatantly unfair trials, and, most recently, individuals tried in secret by military courts with no civilian oversight.
“Over the past year with the moratorium lifted, the Pakistani government has sent hundreds to the gallows with cruel disregard for the rights of those put to death,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The government urgently needs to find a better way to address militancy and common crime since the death penalty has long shown to be ineffective in tackling these challenges.”
On December 17, 2014, Prime Minister Sharif rescinded an unofficial moratorium on capital punishment following a militant attack on a school in Peshawar the previous day that killed at least 149 people, including 132 children. The authorities should bring the perpetrators of this horrific attack to justice in fair trials, but without resorting to the death penalty.
Human Rights Watch opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as an inherently cruel punishment.