No position on Pakistan lifting death penalty moratorium: US

Updated December 24, 2014

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US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf. — AFP/File
US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf. — AFP/File

US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said Wednesday that the lifting of the moratorium on the dealth penalty in Pakistan is the latter’s internal issue.

On the issue of human rights bodies asking Pakistan to go back to the same moratorium on executions, Harf said the US did not have a position to outline on the said matter.

Take a look: Nawaz removes moratorium on death penalty

During a press briefing, Harf said the United States has remained in close contact with the Pakistani government, and President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry had assured to provide assistance to Pakistan in the wake of the Peshawar school massacre, “but nothing on that specific for you.”

Last week, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had approved the removal of moratorium on death penalty after the carnage in Peshawar killed 148 people — including more than 132 schoolchildren. In the wake of the removal of the moratorium on the death penalty, six executions have been carried out.

Examine: Rights groups slam Pakistan for resuming executions

Commenting on the bail that was granted to Mumbai terrorist attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan, Harf said the US was "concerned", but noted that the Pakistani government had pledged its cooperation in bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice. She added that the US urged them to uphold that promise.

Read more: ATC approves bail of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi in Mumbai attacks case

Taking a cue from Harf's answer, a reporter asked her whether the US still saw Pakistan to discriminate and differentiate between good terrorists and bad terrorists to which the State Department spokesperson reiterated that the US was concerned by reports circulating in the media which said that Lakhvi had received bail.

"We have worked very closely with Pakistan on counterterrorism. More Pakistanis are victims of counterterrorism, I think, than anywhere in the world. So clearly it’s a shared threat, but when we have concerns like this we’ll raise them," she said.

Harf dismissed a question regarding reports that stated that the US may not target Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar. "I don’t think that’s something for the State Department to speak to," she said.

View: US may not target Mullah Omar after this year