— File Photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has  carried out its first execution in four years, sparking criticism from human rights activists.  

Jail official Abdullah Khan Niazi says authorities hanged Mohammed Hussain early on Thursday morning in Mianwali city in central Punjab province.

Hussain was an army soldier and a resident of Langarwala Pul of Sahiwal Tehsil Sargodha District, was sentenced to death in 2009 because he had killed his senior officer Havaldar Khadim Hussain in 2008 when they were on leave.

It was the first execution since the current government came to power in 2008. President Asif Ali Zardari placed an unofficial moratorium on executions after he was elected. Every three months the presidency issued a letter through respective home departments, staying all executions.

But Niazi said that the president and the head of the army, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, rejected Hussain's mercy petition.

Zaman Khan, an official at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, criticized the execution, saying it indicates the government has changed its policy.

Farooq Nazeer, chief of prisons in the central province of Punjab, said the hanging was not a civilian execution and the government did not intervene in military cases.

He said the last execution in Pakistan was in November 2008, soon after the end of military rule.

 

* An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the execution was the first in five, instead of four, years.

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