Saturday June 10, 2023

Execution report

By Editorial Board
April 22, 2018

Pakistan remains amongst the top five countries in the world with the highest execution rates despite there having been a decline in the number of executions in the country. Almost 6,000 people remain on death row in Pakistan, which is seen as an alarmingly high number. Similarly, the number of executions themselves remains high – at 60 last year. This is still down from 87 executions in the country a year ago. The practice of executions in Pakistan has its critics amongst the legal and human rights community in the country, who justifiably point out the flawed criminal justice system to question the legitimacy of charges against individuals who are executed. A number of these cases have become controversial, including claims that some of those convicted were underage or suffering from mental health problems. The country had lifted the moratorium on the death penalty in 2014 after the horrific APS Peshawar attack, under the logic that only executions could deter terrorists. This was a logic that came under question back then and to date has proven to be rather flawed. Terrorism has not been deterred by the death penalty in the same way that the death penalty has not deterred murder.

The country is sat next to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and China amongst places that have the highest number of executions. None of these countries is known for an outstanding human rights record. Overall, the world has seen a reduction in executions, with both Saudi Arabia and Iran also seeing a fall in the number of people they executed. The overall number of countries in the world that still have the death penalty on their laws is decreasing every year, with another 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa having abolished the death penalty. Amnesty International has asked everyone else to follow suit – simply under the logic that it is better to pursue rehabilitation, instead of punitive justice. Moreover, most of the death penalties awarded do not meet the threshold of ‘serious crimes’ according to AI. Overall, the reduction in executions is a positive sign but what is still a gross abuse of rights is the 6,000 people who do not know when their last breath will be. While it would seem to make sense to ask for all these cases to be reviewed quickly, the concerns over flaws in the justice system remain real and have not been addressed. It would be wise for those in power to reconsider whether the proclaimed benefits of restoring the death penalty have been achieved.