For many countries, the death penalty remains an important component of their criminal justice system and deterrent against what their societies regard as the most serious crimes in line with Article 6 of ICCPR. We believe that the rights of the offenders must always be weighed against the rights of their victims and their families, and the broader rights of the community and society to be able to live in peace and security.
In the wake of the terrorist attack at the public school in Peshawar in which over 150 young students and teachers were killed, the people of Pakistan were outraged and demanded action to be taken against terrorists. All political parties took the unanimous decision to utilizing all legally available avenues to penalize and deter terrorists including their masterminds, supporters and handlers. Against this backdrop, the moratorium on death penalty was lifted which was placed by the Government voluntarily in 2008. It has acted as one important deterrent against terrorist attacks that have led to death of more than 60,000 innocent Pakistanis.
There are a number of countries that have death penalty as part of their domestic laws. Pakistan’s counter-terrorism response to lift the moratorium on death penalty is in compliance with both our national legislation and international human rights law. The death penalty is only applied after adhering to the full due process of law, pursuant to a final judgment rendered by a competent court, and with the right to seek pardon or appeal for commutation.
Despite safeguards in place, we are examining the existing provisions of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to determine if the scope of the death penalty can be narrowed further. We are also looking at options of enhancing the duration of life sentence.
I thank you.