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UN urges Pakistan to halt executions

Updated December 27, 2014

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United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. — Reuters/File
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. — Reuters/File

UNITED NATIONS: UN chief Ban Ki-moon is pressing Pakistan to end capital punishment and restore a moratorium on the death penalty the government lifted in terror cases following the Taliban school massacre in Peshawar.

Ban spoke with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday to express his condolences after the slaughter last week that left 150 people dead, including 134 children.

However, “while fully recognising the difficult circumstances, the secretary general urged the government of Pakistan to stop the executions of convicts and re-impose the moratorium on the death penalty,” Ban's office said in a statement.

Also read: Death for terrorism

Prime Minister Sharif promised that “all legal norms would be respected,” the statement added.

The prime minister ended the six-year moratorium on the death penalty, reinstating it for terrorism-related cases, in the wake of the deadliest terror attack in Pakistani history.

Pakistan plans to execute 500 militants in the coming weeks.

More on this: Dr Usman, Arshad Mehmood executed in Faisalabad

‘Extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary measure’

Pakistan, meanwhile, strongly reacted to the UN chief’s statement saying the country was “cognizant of its obligations under UN Human Rights Conventions/Covenants”.

“Execution of terrorists violates no international law,” FO spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said in a short statement issued in Islamabad.

A spokesman of the PM House said Pakistan respects the international community, but the country is passing through “extraordinary circumstances which demand extraordinary measures to be taken”.

“A peaceful Pakistan is in the best interest of the world,” the spokesman added.