Pakistan’s Execution Campaign Continues
Pakistan has hanged four terrorists on Sunday in the second group of executions since the moratorium was lifted by the country’s government.
The Islamist militants hanged were unrelated to those who conducted the massacre of 141 individuals, the majority of whom were children, and the government has been criticised by Pakistani commentators for using the executions to divert the public’s attention. The country’s government has thus far been unable to satisfy the public’s demands to find those responsible for the brutal school siege.
The four prisoners, who had been jailed for attacking the former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, were executed at the highly guarded jail in Faisalabad according to a senior government official. The same jail had been the location of two other criminals’ hangings on Friday.
The executed men have been identified by a source in the local Punjab government as Rasheed Qureshi, Zubair Ahmad, Ghulam Sarwar and Akhlaque Ahmed.
More convicts are lined up to be executed in days to come according to official sources, some of whom will be hanged in the city of Lahore, known as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s power base.
In a show of retaliation to the executions of its fighters, the Taliban have issued statements vowing to conduct more attacks around the country.
The government has ordered security in major prisons to be tightened in response due to fears that the militants, who are attempting to bring about the fall of the government with the intention to set up a state ruled by Islamic law, might attack jails in order to free inmates.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has said that police have arrested a number of suspects connected with the raid on the Peshawar school, but gave reporters no further details.
According to rights groups, Pakistan has approximately 8,000 prisoners on death row with over 500 of whom are facing execution for terrorist offences.
The U.N. human rights office has responded to the executions by appealing to the country’s government on Friday to refrain from continuing executions.
Deputy Asia director at the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, Phelim Kine, has said on Sunday that the Pakistan government had “chosen to indulge in vengeful blood-lust instead of finding and prosecuting those responsible”.