ISLAMABAD: The European Union (EU) has sharply reacted over lifting of the moratorium on the death penalty in Pakistan, and has demanded its immediate restoration on Wednesday.
"We believe that the death penalty is not an effective tool in the fight against terrorism," the EU envoy to Pakistan Lars-Gunnar Wigemark and other delegates said in a joint statement.
The envoy further added that the EU delegation regrets the decision of the Pakistani government to lift the moratorium on executions, which had been in place since 2008.
Read more: Nawaz removes moratorium on death penalty
Last week, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had approved the lifting of the moratorium on the death penalty after a Taliban attack in Peshawar killed 148 people, including more than 130 schoolchildren.
In the wake of the lifting of the moratorium on the death penalty, four death-row prisoners, who were convicted for involvement in an attack on former military ruler Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf, were executed last week on Sunday, at a district jail in Faisalabad.
Whereas, two former military men were also executed last week, in the Faisalabad district jail. Usman a former soldier of the army’s medical corps, was executed in relation to an attack on the headquarters of the Pakistan Army in 2009 in Rawalpindi. Arshad Mehmood, who was a trooper and also hanged, was among five convicts who were handed out the death sentence for their role in an Al Qaeda-inspired assassination attempt on Musharraf’s life in late 2003.
Ambassador Wigenmark also said that the EU remains opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and expressed hope that the moratorium will be re-established at the earliest.
On the other hand, the envoy assured that the EU stands by Pakistan's side and shares its grief after the horrific attack on the school in Peshawar.
The EU Delegation also welcomes the resolve of Pakistanis to deal with the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism in all of its manifestation.
More on this: Militant siege of Peshawar school ends, 141 killed
At least 148 people, including 132 schoolchildren, died when Taliban gunmen had attacked the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16.