Pakistan court dismisses plea seeking death penalty abolition

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 Islamabad, May 26 (IANS) Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking the abolition of death penalty, maintaining that life and liberty are not absolute under the constitution.

The petitioner, Barrister Zafarullah, had filed the petition seeking the abolition of the death penalty, arguing that the punishment was against fundamental rights in a country where the criminal justice system was ineffective, Dawn online reported.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Saqib Nisar dismissed the petition, stating that right to life and liberty were not absolute in nature.

The court stated that the death penalty was provided for in the law, and the life of a person may be taken if done under provision of law.

The court dismissed the petition and recommended that the proper forum to seek a change in laws was the parliament of Pakistan.

There were no civilian hangings in Pakistan since 2008.

Only one person was executed during that time — a soldier convicted by a court martial and hanged in November 2012.

The moratorium on the death penalty was lifted for those convicted of terrorism offences after the Decmeber 16 Taliban attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar that claimed the lives of over 140 students and staff.

In March early this year, the lifting of the moratorium was extended to cover all capital offences. Over 8,000 prisoners await execution in different jails across the country.