More executions since the December attack on a school that left 132 students dead
Seven convicted militants were hanged in four Pakistani prisons early Tuesday morning, state media reported.
The executions came as US Secretary of State John Kerry visits Pakistan where he has pledged to boost security and intelligence cooperation for Islamabad’s fight against militancy.
According to state-run Pakistan Television (PTV), seven men convicted by anti-terrorism courts from 2001 to 2003 were hanged at Central Jail in Sukkur, Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, District Jail in Faisalabad and Central Jail of Karachi.
“Three militants, Muhammed Talha, Khalil Ahmed and Shahid Hanif, were sentenced to death in 2003 by an anti-terrorism court over [the] killing of a defense official in 2001,” it said.
Zulfiqar Aliwas was condemned to death for killing two policemen in front of the US Consulate in Karachi in 2003.
Two terrorists, Nawazish Ali and Mushtaq Ahmed, had been convicted in the Musharraf attack case.
In December, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lifted a six-year ban on the death penalty shortly after Taliban gunmen massacred 132 schoolchildren and 12 teachers and staff at a Peshawar military school in one of the deadliest attacks in the country has seen.
So far, 16 convicted terrorists have been hanged by Pakistan since the lifting of the ban.
Amarnath Motumal, vice chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said that hasty executions would not serve the purpose of rooting out terrorism in the country.
“The commission has a principled stand against capital punishment as there is no evidence that it will curb terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence on a permanent basis,” he said. “Executions of terror convicts will have a temporary effect.”
He also opposed the setting up of military courts.
“Courts are the most competent authority. Government should hand over the prosecution department to the military while trials should be conducted in civilian courts,” he said. “Witnesses and judges will feel more secure if [the] army is handed the prosecution in cases related to terrorism.”
Such a move, he said, would be more result-oriented in dealing with the challenge of militancy.
Meanwhile, speaking at a joint press conference with Pakistan’s national security adviser Sartaj Aziz, Kerry said the US is committed to deepening its “security relationship with Pakistan in order to eliminate threats in the border area and elsewhere.”
The US Secretary of State said the Peshawar school attack was "a reminder of the serious risk of allowing extremists to find space, and be able to command that space and operate within it."
"We all have a responsibility to ensure that these extremists are no longer able to secure a foothold in this country or elsewhere."
This article originally appeared at UCANews.com and is reprinted with permission. Additional reporting by AFP.