15 Death-Row Convicts Sent to the Gallow
Lahore: Fifteen convicted murderers were hanged on Tuesday, the largest number of executions in a day since an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty was lifted in December last year.
Fourteen prisoners convicted of ‘heinous crimes’ were hanged to death in different jails of Punjab while one convict was executed in Balochistan, officials said.
The government had withdrawn a six-year moratorium on executions on December 17 – a day after the Taliban attacked Peshawar’s Army Public School and killed 153 people, most of them children. The massacre put pressure on the government to do more to tackle a deadly insurgency. Initially, only people convicted of terrorism offences were executed, but later it was decided to execute all death-row convicts whose appeals had been rejected.
The Punjab prisons chief, Farooq Nazir, said 14 convicts who had been awarded death penalties were hanged.
In Faisalabad, two prisoners were hanged in the central jail while one was sent to the gallows in the district jail. Nizamuddin and Muhammad Hussain were hanged in the central jail. An anti-terrorism court (ATC) had condemned Nizamuddin to death for killing a woman during a robbery. Hussain was sentenced to death in a murder case in 2007.
District Jail Superintendent Rana Raza Ullah said Muhammad Azam was sentenced to death on 14 counts on February 26, 2005, by an ATC. He was convicted of killing his seven in-laws over a family dispute on December 11, 2004.
Another death row prisoner was executed at the Multan Central Jail. Rana Sultan alias Raja was awarded death penalty in 2002 for killing Mushtaq alias Maku on October 15, 2000 in Khanewal district.
Two more convicted murderers were executed at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail. Allah Rakha was convicted of killing a resident of Faisalabad in 1996. Ghulam Nabi was sent to the gallows for killing a man in Lahore.
The executions of six more condemned prisoners were postponed by the Lahore High Court. Two convicts each were to be hanged in the central jails of Rawalpindi and Bhawalpur. One each was to be executed at the central jails of Faisalabad and Bahawalpur.
Another six convicts will be sent to the gallows today (Wednesday) and two more will be hanged on April 23.
The latest executions have brought the number of people hanged in Pakistan since December to 95, the Justice Project Pakistan legal aid group said, citing media reports.
Human rights groups say many convictions in Pakistan are highly unreliable. The country’s antiquated criminal justice system barely functions, torture has often been used to extract confessions and police are rarely trained in investigation.
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