Thursday June 20, 2019
SNc Channels:

Search
About Salem-News.com

 

Aug-21-2013 16:09printcomments

Pakistan: Renew Death Penalty Moratorium, Then Abolish Capital Punishment

According to official figures, Pakistan has more than 7,000 prisoners on death row, one of the largest populations of prisoners facing execution in the world.



(YORK, UK) - Pakistan’s government should revoke its decision to resume executions and renew its moratorium on the death penalty, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com said in a letter to the Pakistani government today.

Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes urged the Pakistani government to demonstrate its commitment to international human rights obligations by halting all executions, immediately adopting a moratorium on the death penalty, and abolishing the death penalty permanently in domestic law. Pakistan should also ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the abolition of the death penalty.

Pakistan has had a moratorium on the death penalty since June 2008, with only the execution of Muhammad Hussain in November 2012 following a court martial.

A counterterrorism court in Sindh province has issued “black warrants” for the execution of two members of the banned sectarian and militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Attaullah alias Qasim and Muhammad Azam alias Sharif. The two men were convicted by a counterterrorism court in July 2004 for the killing of a Shia doctor. They are scheduled to be executed between August 20 and 22, 2013.

According to official figures, Pakistan has more than 7,000 prisoners on death row, one of the largest populations of prisoners facing execution in the world.

Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as an inherently irreversible, inhumane punishment. A majority of countries in the world have abolished the practice. On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution by a wide margin calling for a worldwide moratorium.


Honorable Prime Minister Mr Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
Honorable President Mr Asif Ali Zardari
Honorable Interior Minister Mr Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan
Honorable Secretary for Law, Justice and Human Rights Mr Muhammad Raza Khan

Your Excellencies,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com.

I am deeply concerned by your government’s recently announced decision to resume executions in Pakistan. I urge you to renew the moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

Pakistan has had a moratorium on the death penalty since June 2008, with only the exception of Muhammad Hussain’s execution in November 2012 following a court martial.

Your government decided not to renew the moratorium when it expired in June 2013. I understand that an anti-terrorism court in Sindh province has issued ‘black warrants’ for the execution of two members of the banned sectarian and militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Attaullah alias Qasim and Muhammad Azam alias Sharif, who were convicted by an anti-terrorism court in July 2004 for the killing of a Shia doctor. They are scheduled to be executed between 20 and 22 August 2013.

I believe that those who commit acts of terrorism should be prosecuted before competent, independent and impartial courts that meet international due process standards. However, I oppose the death penalty under all circumstances as an inherently cruel and irreversible punishment that violates the right to life.

In recent years, the debate on the abolition of the death penalty has intensified in Pakistan. In 2008, the Pakistan Federal Cabinet adopted a proposal to commute death sentences to life imprisonment. Before its term expired, the Pakistan People’s Party-led government reportedly planned to table a bill in Parliament to commute death sentences to life imprisonment. Currently, a petition calling for the commutation of death sentences is also being considered by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The resumption of the death penalty puts Pakistan in opposition to the global and regional movement towards the abolition of the death penalty.

Currently, 150 countries worldwide, including 30 states in the Asia-Pacific region, have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. The decision not to renew the moratorium on executions and carrying out executions constitutes a major step back for human rights in the country. This decision is all the more alarming given that more than 7,000 people are on death row in Pakistan.

Over the years, the United Nations has adopted various instruments in support of the call for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty. In 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution emphasizing that ‘that the use of the death penalty undermines human dignity’ and calling for the establishment of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty ‘with a view to abolishing the death penalty.’ The resolution was reaffirmed in 2008, 2010, and most recently in December 2012, when and overwhelming majority of 110 UN member countries voted in favor of a worldwide moratorium on executions as a step towards the death penalty’s abolition.

Death Penalty Violates Pakistan’s Human Rights Obligations

I oppose the death penalty in all cases without exception. I believe that the use of the death penalty constitutes a violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

In any event, and beyond the circumstances of the two present cases, the inconsistent and disproportionate application of capital punishment breaches the legal prohibition on the arbitrary deprivation of life.

Pakistan ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 2010. Article 6 of the ICCPR guarantees the right to life and requires that states restrict capital punishment to only the ‘most serious crimes’. Since 2006, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions has interpreted the ‘most serious crimes’ as limited to those cases where there was an intention to kill, which resulted in the loss of life.

In Pakistan, capital punishment is prescribed for 27 different offences, including blasphemy, sexual intercourse outside of marriage, kidnapping or abduction, rape, assault on the modesty of women and the stripping of women’s clothes, smuggling of drugs, arms trading and sabotage of the railway system. Many of these crimes do not meet the threshold of ‘most serious crimes’ stipulated by Article 6 of the ICCPR.

Death Penalty does not Deter Crime

The decision to resume executions is reportedly in reaction to the high levels of crime and insecurity in Pakistan. However, there is no evidence that the death penalty acts as a more effective deterrent against crime than other forms of punishment.

A comprehensive survey conducted for the UN Committee on Crime Prevention and Control in 1988 and later updated in 1996 and 2002 concluded that research ‘has failed to provide scientific proof that executions have a greater deterrent effect than life imprisonment. Such proof is unlikely to be forthcoming. The evidence as a whole still gives no support to the deterrent hypothesis.’

I urge the Pakistani government to demonstrate its commitment to its international human rights obligations and renew the moratorium on use of the death penalty. Specifically, I call on your government to:

• Halt all executions and immediately adopt a moratorium on the death penalty.

• Abolish the death penalty permanently in domestic law.

• Accede to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the abolition of the death penalty.

We would be happy to discuss these issues with you at your convenience.

Yours sincerely,


William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
Twitter@wnicholasgomes
www.williamnicholasgomes.com

http://williamnicholasgomes.com/

Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.

He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency Asianews.it from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.

_________________________________________




Comments Leave a comment on this story.
Name:

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.


[Return to Top]
©2019 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.


Articles for August 20, 2013 | Articles for August 21, 2013 | Articles for August 22, 2013
Annual Hemp Festival & Event Calendar

Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

Support
Salem-News.com:

Special Section: Truth telling news about marijuana related issues and events.

googlec507860f6901db00.html
Your customers are looking: Advertise on Salem-News.com!