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What is behind Pakistan's dramatic rise in executions?: BBC

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The faces of some of those awaiting execution and others who have already been put to death
Last December Pakistan lifted a seven-year moratorium on executions in response to a deadly Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar. Since then at least 157 people have been put to death - many of whom were not convicted of terror offences.

The BBC's Claire Brennan looks into some of their cases and examines the reasons behind Pakistan's dramatic shift in death penalty policy.

Who is on death row?

Shafqat Hussain's parents have not seen their son for over a decade
Pakistan is believed to have the largest number of death row inmates in the world. Some 8,200 prisoners are awaiting execution - many of whom have been in jail for over a decade.

The vast majority are men, however there are some women - most notably theChristian Asia Bibi who was convicted of blasphemy in 2010.

The mother-of-five was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed and sentenced to death, despite her insistence that the evidence against her had been fabricated.

Some 27 crimes carry the death sentence in Pakistan, including terrorism, rape and adultery. Figures from the Justice Project Pakistan, show most people facing execution have been convicted of a "lethal offence".

However, in Punjab, for example, 226 prisoners were placed on death row for "non-lethal offences".

Death sentences by province
Province
Lethal offence Non-lethal offence Unknown Tried in terrorism courts Tried in regular courts
Balochistan* 88 1 26 63
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa* 159 10 12 20 163
Punjab* 6,022 226 8 641 5,628
Sindh 291 20 20 131 200
Source: Justice Project Pakistan. * 2012 figures - Sindh figures from 2014

There are also concerns that up to 1,000 people convicted as juveniles are facing execution - something that is illegal under international law. But proving your age in Pakistan can be difficult, particularly in poor communities where many births are not registered.

Aftab Bahadur was put to death on Wednesday, even though human rights campaigners say there is evidence which proves he was a minor when he was convicted of murder in 1992. They also say he was tortured into giving a confession.


Aftab Bahadur had been on death row for 23 years

Aftab Bahadur painted about his situation whilst in prison
On Tuesday the execution of Shafqat Hussain was postponed by the Supreme Court just hours before he was due to be hanged.

He was found guilty of killing and kidnapping a seven-year-old boy in 2004 - but his lawyers also maintain he was underage when the alleged crimes were committed.

Why was the moratorium lifted?

The bloody scenes in Peshawar sparked calls for the government to do more to target terrorists
The massacre of 132 children in Peshawar last December was the catalyst for the reintroduction of the death penalty.

Amid public anger, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced the moratorium would be lifted for terror convicts - before eventually resuming executions for all death penalty offences.

The move was condemned by the United Nations and human rights campaigners who warned it would do little to impede the Taliban.

"The government is touting executions as the way of tackling the country's law and order problems," said Maya Pastakia, a Pakistan campaigner for Amnesty International.

"But there is no compelling evidence that the death penalty will act as particular deterrent over and above any other form of punishment. A suicide bomber won't be deterred by the death penalty."

She believes lifting the moratorium was "a lazy response" to dealing with the huge numbers of people on death row.


Saulat Mirza was executed in May over a political killing
"We have seen a conveyor belt of executions. People who were implicated in terrorism crime, as well as people convicted for straight-forward murder, manslaughter and kidnapping.

"The government seems entirely intransigent on this issue."

Who has been executed and why?

Two Baloch hijackers were executed for storming a Pakistan International Flight
The first series of hangings took place at Faisalabad jail in December - and are now almost an everyday occurrence across the country.

Many prisoners have been put to death for terror offences, including three Baloch insurgents who hijacked a passenger plane in 1998.

Others were found guilty of political killings, like Saulat Mirza - a former worker for the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) who was convicted of murdering the head of Karachi's power utility service.

But some cases have attracted attention over concerns about the legitimacy of their trials.

Shafqat Hussain "was at worst a common criminal", according to his lawyer Sarah Belal, yet his case was processed by an anti-terrorism court.

"It goes to the heart of all the problems with the judicial system," she told the BBC. "He belongs to a poor community. He was not a terrorist."


Saulat Mirza's family grieve over his coffin following his execution in the Balochistan province
 

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Ms Belal says Shafqat Hussain was tortured for nine days before giving a confession, which he later withdrew. All other evidence against him was "purely circumstantial".

She says there has never been a credible investigation into his age or the validity of his torture claims.

The decision to postpone his execution on Tuesday is the fourth time he's been granted a last-minute reprieve. Ms Belal says she will continue to fight on her client's behalf until his execution is permanently halted.

"At the very least the government has to answer on what grounds they've got to proceed. They have to determine his age and produce and release evidence."


Shafqat Hussain claims he was electrocuted and had his fingernails pulled out
Cases like this are not uncommon, according to Maya Pastakia.

"Trials are often characterised by lack of access to fair legal counsel," said Ms Pastakia. "Often the accused in the initial stages will be given a state appointed lawyer who is often poorly trained and lacks competence.

"All judicial systems make mistakes and as long as the death penalty persists, innocent people will be executed. There is no going back."

How does Pakistan compare with the rest of the world?

Convicts are often flogged before execution in Iran
The issue of capital punishment sparks heated debates around the world. Although 99 nations have abolished the death penalty, 22 countries carried out executions in 2014.

China and North Korea are believed to be among the world's top executioners, however specific figures are difficult to obtain, because they are concealed by the authorities.


Amnesty International does collate figures from other countries, which show Iran and Saudi Arabia are responsible for the largest share of executions.

Iran confirmed 289 deaths last year, but 454 others were not officially acknowledged, Amnesty says. In Saudi Arabia at least 90 executions were carried out.

Pakistan is quickly catching up. Amnesty said on 10 June that 150 prisoners had been executed so far in 2015 - that compares to 90 in Saudi Arabia during roughly the same period. By the end of April the Iranian authorities had announced 130 executions, but 222 others were reported by other sources.

What is behind Pakistan's dramatic rise in executions? - BBC News
 

Menace2Society

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BBC has agenda. This is an example of their South Asian journalism headed up by Indians with butthurt and identity crisis syndrome.

They have never attempted to paint a positive image of Pakistan and nor shared in the grief of losing so many people in this war. Heartless gutless people, do not listen to them.
 

Psychic

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There are also concerns that up to 1,000 people convicted as juveniles are facing execution - something that is illegal under international law. But proving your age in Pakistan can be difficult, particularly in poor communities where many births are not registered.
Reminds me, how the child killer Shafqat Hussain was declared juvenile by some NGO's. An FIA investigation later on proved him guilty again.
These so called liberals and the Western world do not want justice to prevail in Pakistan.
 

DESERT FIGHTER

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Reminds me, how the child killer Shafqat Hussain was declared juvenile by some NGO's. An FIA investigation later on proved him guilty again.
These so called liberals and the Western world do not want justice to prevail in Pakistan.
His sentence has been halted....

I doubt this guy was a juv a couple of years ago... He seems to be in his late 30s :

image.jpg


Common criminal ? Yeah killing kids is considered a common crime??



Sailor Mirza ? The person confessed to killing people on TV.



Asia bibi? No woman has ever been put to death in Pak... Ever! Her case is still in the court!



This is just BS!


Most of those 8000+ are in for terrorism... Including taliban fighters !(majority of them).


Others are on crimes like rapes,murders etx... Unless BBC considers these crimes as "non lethal".... Which is nothin short of utter BS!
 
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Thorough Pro

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Screw the brits. We have a system and government is responsible to protect law abiding Pakistani citizens from criminals. Our law is very loud and clear about crimes and their punishments. Anyone who breaks the laws and creates fear in the society, must be culled.
 

Psychic

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His sentence has been halted....

I doubt this guy was a juv a couple of years ago... He seems to be in his late 30s :

View attachment 228946

Common criminal ? Yeah killing kids is considered a common crime??



Sailor Mirza ? The person confessed to killing people on TV.



Asia bibi? No woman has ever been put to death in Pak... Ever! Her case is still in the court!



This is just BS!


Most of those 8000+ are in for terrorism... Including taliban fighters !(majority of them).


Others are on crimes like rapes,murders etx... Unless BBC considers these crimes as "non lethal".... Which is nothin short of utter BS!
Age was never an issue in Shafqat's case. His own lawyer who fought his orignal case testified in FIA's inquiry. His sentence was halted because some stupid Western funded NGO released some "facts" about his age from it's stinking @rse.

Ms Belal says Shafqat Hussain was tortured for nine days before giving a confession, which he later withdrew. All other evidence against him was "purely circumstantial".

She says there has never been a credible investigation into his age or the validity of his torture claims.

The decision to postpone his execution on Tuesday is the fourth time he's been granted a last-minute reprieve. Ms Belal says she will continue to fight on her client's behalf until his execution is permanently halted.

"At the very least the government has to answer on what grounds they've got to proceed. They have to determine his age and produce and release evidence."


Shafqat Hussain claims he was electrocuted and had his fingernails pulled out
Cases like this are not uncommon, according to Maya Pastakia.

"Trials are often characterised by lack of access to fair legal counsel," said Ms Pastakia. "Often the accused in the initial stages will be given a state appointed lawyer who is often poorly trained and lacks competence.

"All judicial systems make mistakes and as long as the death penalty persists, innocent people will be executed. There is no going back."

How does Pakistan compare with the rest of the world?

Convicts are often flogged before execution in Iran
The issue of capital punishment sparks heated debates around the world. Although 99 nations have abolished the death penalty, 22 countries carried out executions in 2014.

China and North Korea are believed to be among the world's top executioners, however specific figures are difficult to obtain, because they are concealed by the authorities.


Amnesty International does collate figures from other countries, which show Iran and Saudi Arabia are responsible for the largest share of executions.

Iran confirmed 289 deaths last year, but 454 others were not officially acknowledged, Amnesty says. In Saudi Arabia at least 90 executions were carried out.

Pakistan is quickly catching up. Amnesty said on 10 June that 150 prisoners had been executed so far in 2015 - that compares to 90 in Saudi Arabia during roughly the same period. By the end of April the Iranian authorities had announced 130 executions, but 222 others were reported by other sources.

What is behind Pakistan's dramatic rise in executions? - BBC News
Shafqat was a chowkidar aka watchman at the time he committed the crime. He was caught red handed. Now don't tell me that people hire childern as watchmen in Pakistan.
 

انگریز

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Why BBC is concerned about Pakistan executing tertorists and mass murderers
If they love these terrotists why not take them and keep im their country?
 

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Shafqat was a chowkidar aka watchman at the time he committed the crime. He was caught red handed. Now don't tell me that people hire childern as watchmen in Pakistan.
I believe you but the west doesn't.Thats the problem...We need the world close to us not be more distant...

Reminds me, how the child killer Shafqat Hussain was declared juvenile by some NGO's. An FIA investigation later on proved him guilty again.
These so called liberals and the Western world do not want justice to prevail in Pakistan.
Only 1-2 % NGOs work properly. Rest are just to play negative role against Pakistan...
 

syedali73

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Screw BBC and continue to hang the bastards. If BBC has too much problem with it, she is more than welcome to take these criminals to UK.
 

Salik

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Sooner or later they're gonna be hanged. I don't think there is need to haste. Else 'west' will get another front to blackmail.

Btw there is simple method to check one's age. Count the public hair of that person. There is direct corelation between age and public hair per requare inches. This is called PSI factor.
 

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Sooner or later they're gonna be hanged. I don't think there is need to haste. Else 'west' will get another front to blackmail.

Btw there is simple method to check one's age. Count the public hair of that person. There is direct corelation between age and public hair per requare inches. This is called PSI factor.
Everyone knows he was a grown up adult. WEST and NGOs just can't seeing Pakistan happy.
 

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