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Govt ignores TTP threat, to execute three militants

Updated August 14, 2013
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali. — File Photo
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Despite threats by the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the government has decided to carry out the execution of condemned prisoners and the death penalty for the first batch of terrorists belonging to outlawed groups will be implemented next week.

While the TTP has issued a ‘warning’ to the government to refrain from implementing the death penalties of its members, the interior minister says the new government is determined to establish the writ of law.

“There is a huge backlog of 450 cases and we are processing them as fast as we can,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told Dawn.

“We will continue the process to implement the execution orders so that the law may take its course,” he said.

The TTP had said in a letter addressed to the PML-N that both it and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf should learn from the condition of the Awami National Party (ANP) after getting involved in a conflict with them.

An official of the interior ministry said the government had decided to deal with all cases of execution on a case-to-case basis and those related to terrorism were being selected.

Sources in the federal government said that three condemned prisoners were to be executed next week in the Sukkur Central Prison.

The three Lashkar-i-Jhangvi terrorists are Attaullah, to be executed on Aug 20, Mohammad Azam on Aug 21 and Jalal on Aug 22.

Attaullah was awarded death sentence in six cases by an anti-terrorism court in Karachi on July 6, 2004, and Azam was sentenced to death in four cases by the same court.

Implementation of death penalties has been on hold in the country since 2008 when the former PPP government decided against it and a presidential order imposed a moratorium.

Soon after taking charge, the PML-N government decided that the condemned terrorists needed to be hanged so that their network could be abolished.

The moratorium on executions ended on June 30.

Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rasheed said death sentences had been awarded by courts and not the PML-N.

He said the strategy to counter the threats against the PML-N or the federal or Punjab governments could not be discussed on the media.

The sources in the interior ministry said the files for the execution orders of five more condemned prisoners belonging to the LJ/ TTP had been forwarded to the prime minister’s office. They said the cases would be sent to the president so that the death warrants could be issued.

Although all executions have to be approved by the president, an official said was likely that the files might not be signed by President Asif Ali Zardari.

“The government may have to wait till the new president takes charge on Sept 8,” the official added.

The PPP not only stopped executions of the condemned prisoners during its rule but the outgoing president also reportedly resisted signing ‘black warrants’ of the three prisoners when the files were forwarded to him last month.

The government got the death warrants signed by the acting president, Senate Chairman Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, when Mr Zardari was on leave in the second week of July.

A police official in Islamabad said a plot to attack a Shia mosque on the Eid day could have been a signal for Mr Bokhari whose residence was few hundred yards ahead on the same road in Bara Kahu and many of his relatives visited the place of worship.