HRCP welcomes continuation of death penalty moratorium
LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has welcomed the federal government’s announcement on continuing the moratorium on capital punishment and called for a thorough review of the death penalty regime in the country. In a statement on Friday, the Commission said “HRCP welcomes the government’s statement that it will persist with the moratorium on death penalty. The news brings some respite for thousands of death row inmates – especially those whose execution was imminent – and their families.
It is encouraging that the government did not succumb to pressure and acted not only in national interest but also did well by the norms of justice. “HRCP is particularly happy to note that the government has cited the country’s international commitments, which cannot possibly exclude human rights, as the ground for the decision,” the statement added. Although a good first step, the present decision will have meaning only if we have a complete review of the death penalty regime in Pakistan.
The statement said it was important that Pakistan moved beyond the informal moratorium that had been tried in the country in last few years. For an abnormally high number of offences that carry the death penalty remain on the statute books. The courts continue to award death penalty, adding to around 8,000 death row prisoners already crammed in overcrowded jails. HRCP called upon the government to expeditiously move to address these concerns.