— File Photo.
KARACHI: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called upon the president and the prime minister to extend the informal moratorium on execution of death row prisoners after a presidential order suspending hangings expired on June 30.
According to a press release, the HRCP expressed concern over the non-renewal of the presidential order. The commission said that with at least 8,000 death row prisoners in the country’sjails and thousands more charged with or being tried for death penalty offences, never have more lives been at risk of being snuffed out by the state in Pakistan.
The statement of the HRCP added: “We wish to point out that not one of the pressing reasons for HRCP’s longstanding opposition to the death penalty in Pakistan have changed in any way since the government decided to put in place an informal moratorium on executions in late 2008.”
It further pointed out that deficiencies in law, the administration of justice, the police investigation process and widespread corruption meant that capital punishment allowed for a high chance of unjust sentences – which is even more unacceptable when the punishment is irreversible.
The HRCP statement concluded that the death penalty had not improved the law and order situation in the country, and that research in several countries supported this conclusion. It requested President Asif Ali Zardari to immediately issue an order extending the suspension of execution.
In its letter to the prime minister, HRCP said that if the new government had decided to reverse the decision on suspending executions it must consider the numerous and pressing reasons for HRCP’s opposition to the capital punishment in Pakistan.