Pakistan orders temporary stay of executions

Published August 18, 2013
— File Photo.
— File Photo.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday ordered a temporary stay of executions following objections from the president and rights groups, days before they were due to resume after a five-year moratorium.

The new government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in June scrapped the moratorium on the death penalty in a bid to crack down on criminals and Islamist militants in the violence-torn country.

But on Sunday the government announced that executions, which had been scheduled to begin this week, would be stayed temporarily following objections from outgoing President Asif Ali Zardari.

The stay would last until Zardari returns from abroad to discuss the matter with Sharif, a statement said.

“In due deference to the wish of the president, it has been desired that all executions of death sentences may be held in abeyance till the discussion takes place,” it said.

Zardari steps down on September 8, to be replaced by businessman Mamnoon Hussain, a close Sharif ally who was elected in July.

Pakistan had intended to hang two convicted killers from banned sectarian outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) this Wednesday or Thursday in the southern town of Sukkur, officials had said.

Other prisoners on death row had also expected to be executed this week.

LeJ, one of the most feared extremist groups in Pakistan, has been accused of killing thousands of Shiite Muslims. It has close links to the Pakistani Taliban, which has waged an insurgency since 2007.

Taliban militants have said they will consider the executions of any of its prisoners a declaration of war.

Opinion

Editorial

Iran’s counterstrike
Updated 15 Apr, 2024

Iran’s counterstrike

Israel, by attacking Iran’s diplomatic facilities and violating Syrian airspace, is largely responsible for this dangerous situation.
Opposition alliance
15 Apr, 2024

Opposition alliance

AFTER the customary Ramazan interlude, political activity has resumed as usual. A ‘grand’ opposition alliance ...
On the margins
15 Apr, 2024

On the margins

IT appears that we are bent upon taking the majoritarian path. Thus, the promise of respect and equality for the...
Noshki killings
Updated 14 Apr, 2024

Noshki killings

It must be asked why Baloch separatists continue to target civilians as well as security men despite large deployment.
Upholding the law
14 Apr, 2024

Upholding the law

THE recent discord in Bahawalnagar offers a chance to reflect on the sanctity of the law and its enforcement across...
Tragic travels
14 Apr, 2024

Tragic travels

FOR those embarking on road and boat journeys, the probability of fatal accidents has seen a steady rise. The recent...