56 terrorists on death row in Punjab

Updated December 26, 2014

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— AP/File
— AP/File

LAHORE: With no fresh execution in the last four days in Punjab, as many as 56 more condemned prisoners, including 11 convicted on terrorism charges by military courts, are likely to be hanged after rejection of their mercy petitions by the president of Pakistan.

Of the 17 prisoners convicted in terrorism cases by military courts and imprisoned in provincial jails, six have been hanged in Faisalabad district jail so far.

Through an anti-terrorism court in Lahore issued death warrants of two more condemned prisoners convicted on terrorism charges on Wednesday, jail sources claimed no such warrants were received by Faisalabad district jail officials on Thursday.

Official statistics available with Dawn show that as many as 5,722 condemned prisoners, including 43 females, are languishing in 32 provincial jails out of which 56, including one woman and 11 convicted by military courts in connection with terrorism, are awaiting executions.

There are 455 condemned prisoners whose appeals are pending with the president, while appeals of two others are in the army’s General Headquarters (GHQ) and of one prisoner is with the Federal Shariat Court.

There are some 897 condemned prisoners, including four females, whose appeals are pending with the Supreme Court, while appeals of 4,273 male and 38 female prisoners are pending with the high court.

A source in the provincial prisons department told this reporter that neither any fresh death warrant was issued to any provincial jail nor any execution ordered till Thursday night.

He said the execution orders were expected to be received by jails in a sudden move owing to sensitivity of the situation and related security threats.

He said jail manual had been amended by the Punjab government to hold executions between 24 hours (of issuance of black warrant) and up to 15 days, instead of the previous procedure of implementation of such an order between seven and 21 days.

The restriction with regard to holding executions on specific days has also been withdrawn in the latest amendment.

The source, however, said prisoners issued death warrants by military courts would be hanged according to the direction of authorities concerned. — Faisal Ali Ghumman

Published in Dawn, December 26th, 2014