Details sought about 80 top terrorists for execution

Updated December 19, 2014

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A police officer stands with alleged militants, who stand hooded in police custody in Lahore.— AP/file
A police officer stands with alleged militants, who stand hooded in police custody in Lahore.— AP/file

LAHORE: The Punjab government is likely to get at least 80 top terrorists executed in coming days after it sought details about all condemned prisoners who had been awarded death penalty by various courts in the past.

At present, there are over 530 condemned prisoners in all Punjab jails that include around 80 terrorists of banned militant organizations/groups who were awarded death sentence under murder and terrorism charges by anti-terrorism courts, it is learnt.

Sources say that all top criminals had filed mercy petitions in the office of the President of Pakistan after the Supreme Court rejected their appeals.

“These terrorists (about 80) fall under extremely high-profile category in the list of 530 culprits awarded death penalty. Their execution was halted after all of them filed mercy petitions before the president, who under the law is empowered to cancel such punishment,” an official told Dawn on the condition of anonymity.

He said since the government looked to be serious to execute at least the top terrorists in the phase-1, the home department had sought urgent details from the quarters concerned in this regard in view of the government’s decision after the sorrowful national tragedy in Peshawar that claimed the lives of over 140 people, including 132 children of the Army Public School and College on Dec 16.

Senior lawyer Qasim Hassan Buttor said the execution to such criminals was not such a big task as it could be done in a week or so. “According to the procedure, the president, who has discretionary powers under the constitution to hear such petitions, will have to cancel mercy petitions filed by these criminals.

After cancellation, the president’s office will return the petitions with its verdict to the high court, a court that makes a reference and send the same to respective trial courts of anti-terrorism or sessions judges. These courts then issue death warrants to respective prisons where officials start executing such criminals after completing all legal formalities,” the lawyer added.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2014