LAHORE (APP) – At least five murder convicts were hanged early Wednesday at different jails across Pakistan – the latest executions since the country resumed the death penalty for all capital crimes.
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The latest hangings took place at jails in Sahiwal, Mianwali Bahawalpur and Sukkur, raising the total number of criminals executed since December to 60.
Two executions were also halted in jails in Sahiwal and Mianwali after they were pardoned by the victims’ families.
Shahbaz, convicted of murdering another man in a land dispute in 1998, was taken to the gallows at the Sahiwal Central Jail early morning.
The execution of another death row prisoner in Sahiwal was halted at the request of the plaintiffs. Jaffar was convicted of murdering his friend’s brother and sister-in-law in 1997.
Two death row prisoners were hanged at the Central Jail one in Sukkur. Convict Jalal Morejo was sentenced to death for murdering his cousin in 1997, while Abdul Razzaq Chauhan was convicted of committing murder in 2001.
Ghulam Yaseen was hanged at the New Central Jail in Bahawalpur. He was convicted of murdering a woman in 2001.
Sentenced for committing murder in 200, convict Mohammad Khan was hanged at the Mianwali central Jail.
Meanwhile, a sessions court judge in Mianwali halted the execution of another death row prisoner, Hab Dar Hussain, at the request of the plaintiffs. Hussain had killed two men in the year 2000 over a long-running personal feud.
The latest execution come a day after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan confirmed the execution of Shafqat Hussain – apparently condemned to death as a teenager – would be delayed by 30 days.
Hussain’s case has attracted international attention as his lawyers and family claim he was only 15 at the time of the killing.
Nisar said a committee would be set up to try to determine Hussain’s true age.
Another murder convict, Muhammad Nasrullah, was hanged in Multan on Tuesday for killing a man over a family dispute in 1994.
60 convicts have now been hanged to death in Pakistan since the country lifted a moratorium on capital punishment in December.
Reintroducing the death penalty was part of the government’s move to step up its fight against militants and criminals after Taliban militants killed over 150 people – mostly children – at Peshawar’s Army Public School on Dec 16.
The moratorium, in force since 2008, was initially lifted only in terrorism cases.
But the government extended the order earlier this month, directing provincial governments to proceed with hangings for all death row prisoners who had exhausted their appeals and clemency petitions.
Human rights group Amnesty International estimates that Pakistan has more than 8,000 prisoners on death row, most of whom have exhausted the appeals process.
Supporters of the death penalty in Pakistan argue that it is the only effective way to deal with the scourge of militancy.
Critics meanwhile say that Pakistan´s courts are largely unjust forums for decided cases, with rampant police torture, poor legal representation for victims, and unfair trials.