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Iran Press TV

Pakistan has executed 332 people since late 2014: Report

Iran Press TV

Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:43PM

Pakistan's Ministry of the Interior and Narcotics Control says more than 330 people have been executed in the country since late 2014.

The ministry reported to parliament on Friday that 332 people had been executed in the country since the government lifted a six-year moratorium on the death penalty in December 2014.

Islamabad set out to eradicate militancy in Pakistan in the wake of a deadly assault by the Taliban where militants gunned down more than 150 people, most of them children, at an army-run school in Peshawar on December 16 that year.

This is the first time an official tally has been released.

The moratorium on the death penalty was lifted and the constitution amended to allow military courts in Pakistan to bring to justice militants accused of carrying out terrorist attacks.

At first, only those people convicted of terrorism were hanged, but in March 2015, capital punishment was extended to all serious offenses.

According to the report submitted to parliament, 172 seminaries across the country have also been closed on suspicion of having links to extremist militant groups.

The report added that ten websites related to terrorists had also been blocked and more than 70 shops had been closed throughout Pakistan for distributing material deemed to promote hatred.

Opponents to the capital punishment claim Pakistan's justice system is dysfunctional, with rampant police torture and poor representation for victims during 'unfair' trials, while the majority of those who are hanged are not convicted of terror charges.

"They (authorities) are hanging petty criminals but known terrorists on death row are awaiting their punishment for years," said Asma Jahangir, a lawyer and human rights activist in Pakistan.

The fight against terrorism "can succeed only if it is fully implemented, but here we see a selective or very little implementation," she said.

On the other hand, supporters of the government plan to eradicate militancy argue that executions are the only effective way to deal with militancy in Pakistan.

In June 2014, the Pakistani army launched the "Zarb-e-Azb" operation to wipe out militant bases in North Waziristan.

Since 2013, paramilitary troops and police have been engaged in an operation against militants in Karachi.

Nearly 900 militants have been arrested. Militant attacks have also fallen by 80 percent as a result, according to the report submitted to parliament.

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