Pakistan has officially reinstated the death penalty for both terrorism and non-terrorism offenses eligible for capital punishment and will begin executions in cases where all legal appeals and pleas have been exhausted. This change comes after a 7 year moratorium on capital punishment in the South Asian nation. Many Christian observers fear this development because of the number of Christians, and other religious minorities, currently on death row in Pakistan for crimes like blasphemy and apostasy. This development also extends to the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian women convicted of blasphemy in 2010, who is appealing her case to Pakistan’s Supreme Court. Please pray that this final appeal doesn’t fail.
3/11/2015 Pakistan (TIME) – More than 8,000 people sit on death row in the South Asian nation
After a seven-year moratorium, Pakistan has reinstated the death penalty for non-terrorism cases eligible for capital punishment, and will begin executions in cases where appeals and clemency pleas are no longer an option.
Islamabad reintroduced the death penalty on terrorism-related cases last December, following the 2014 Peshawar school attacks that killed over 150 people. Pakistan has executed 24 people since December, already including three whose convictions were unrelated to terrorism, according to Amnesty International.
“This shameful retreat to the gallows is no way to resolve Pakistan’s pressing security and law-and-order problems,” said Amnesty International’s deputy Asia-Pacific director Rupert Abbott.
More than 8,000 citizens languish on Pakistan’s death row, including women like Aasia Bibi, a Christian convicted under the nation’s blasphemy laws. Last year, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Pakistan to restore its moratorium on the death penalty, which also applies to crimes such as adultery, apostasy and blasphemy.
Rights groups contend that Pakistan’s justice system is marred by unfair trials, poor counsel and police torture.