Human rights vs victims’ rights
By: JAMEEL YUSUF
MUCH has been printed in the shape of articles and letters in Dawn on abolishing the death sentence. Despite the existing death penalty, the last sunset of 2012 brings to an end the laying to rest of over 6,000 unfortunate victims of terrorism in the past four years in Karachi alone, while mercilessly butchering and killing many across the country on a daily basis.
In a country where the conviction rate is apathetic two to three per cent and the legislators unperturbed over legislating some stringent anti-terrorism laws to deter criminality, yet over 2,000 terrorists instrumental in bringing death and destruction across the country were awarded the death sentence.
Regrettably their executions have been on hold since 2008. They are now being befriended by the champions of human rights who demand to do away with the punishment of death. It is most unfortunate that there is compassion for the perpetrators, but not for the victims and their distraught families.
During the period of a decade under the war on terror nearly a 100,000 citizens have fallen victim to acts of terrorism and senseless sectarian killings, leaving a much greater number maimed and scarred for life. Let Malala, the family of young Shahzeb Khan, Syeda Mezhar Zehra, unsung heroine of Sindh, who while on way to school saw her father killed before her own eyes, while severely injuring and paralysing her below the waist, families of the kidnapped and butchered soldiers, Ziareens, law-enforcement personnel and many respected members of civil society, whose families have suffered at the hands of these terrorists, decide their fate, as only they have the right to forgive and none other.
Even the right bestowed upon the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to pardon the death penalty needs to be abrogated, being Un-Islamic.
With the advent of 2013 if we intend to put an end to the senseless killings of innocent citizens, we pray that let better sense help usher in a year of Islamic justice by expeditiously executing all those who have not been forgiven by the victim’s families and who must pay for their nefarious acts of brutality.
Interestingly, these terrorists also believe their acts would earn them a place in Heaven, so let us help in expeditiously sending them to their Creator, to be so rewarded.
The Benazir Income Support Programme (who herself was a victim of terrorism) must fund these unfortunate widows, while the thriving private commercial schools/colleges should at least come forward and offer free quality education in their schools to all these orphans, thereby lighting a ray of hope in these families for a future worth living for.
The government on the other hand must, besides mere cash handouts, ensure at least a job to a member of each such family and assist the children from the Zakat funds to help alleviate their sufferings and economic constraints in the days ahead in a transparent and accountable way.