AHRC lauds Prime Minister’s announcement to commute death sentences
KARACHI (June 25 2008): The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has claimed that most of death penalties were rewarded during military regimes. In civilian rule, death penalties were rarely awarded, however, during military regimes the numbers of executions were witnessed and as per statistic 52 people were hung in 2005, the figure rose to 82 in 2006 while 134 were executed in 2007.
The death penalty is still being carried out and according to the 2007 figures, a total of 7,379 prisoners, including 44 women awaiting execution. The AHRC lauded the announcement by the new government to commute death sentences to life imprisonment. AHRC hoped that the Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani would abolish the law related to capital punishment by hanging.
Statement revealed that around 7,379 prisoners would be benefited by the commuting of their death sentences. During last 60 years the scope of death penalty increased crimes including blasphemy, stripping a woman in the public, terrorist acts, sabotage of sensitive installations, sabotage of railway, attacks on law enforcement personal, spreading hate against the armed forces, sedition, etc-etc.
In 1970, the government led by the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto raised the minimum term of a life sentence from 14 to 25 years with the idea that capital punishment would be abolished in the years to come.
However, this did not materialise and General Zia, the military ruler from 1977 to 1988, kept both the death penalty and the increased life sentence intact through ordinance, which was later made the part of the constitution. President Musharraf has done nothing to alter either the death sentence or the minimum term. Children, under the age of 18 years, are also subjected to the death penalty.
Source: Business Recorder