Presidency mulling commuting death sentences: Ansar Burney Trust
RAWALPINDI: The Presidency is considering the possibility of commuting all death sentences into life imprisonment and has, in this regard, sought advice from relevant ministries and provincial authorities, it has been learnt reliably.
Ansar Burney Trust International through several petitions requested President Asif Ali Zardari to commute all death sentences into life imprisonment considering that a large number of those condemned to death were either innocent or had already spent several decades awaiting death.
In this regard, the Presidency issued a notice to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior, Prime Minister’s Secretariat and chief secretaries of all the provinces to present views on the petitions by Monday. According to reports, there are over 7,500 prisoners in Pakistani jails condemned to death, including women and children. Many are innocent and victims of false testimonies or circumstances. Hundreds are now physically and mentally disabled due to decades of imprisonment in overcrowded Pakistani death cells.
International Ambassador for Peace and Human Rights Ansar Burney, who has been working for prison reforms and rights of prisoners in Pakistan for over three decades, has been petitioning the Pakistani government to commute all death sentences into life imprisonment.
Former Prime Minister Yuusuf Raza Gilani announced during an address to the National Assembly on June 21, 2008, soon after assuming office, that his government would forward a proposal to the Presidency to convert all death sentences into life imprisonment. Ansar Burney, who left for Khartoum (Sudan) on Saturday on a humanitarian mission, thanked the president for his action in the greater interest of human dignity.