ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has scrapped plans to reinstate the death penalty, the government said yesterday, following threats by Taliban militants to step up attacks in retaliation.
A 2008 moratorium on capital punishment imposed by the previous government expired on June 30 and the country had been due to execute two jailed militants in August — a plan described by the Pakistani Taliban as an act of war.
“Pakistan has decided to continue with the moratorium on capital punishment since the government is aware of its international commitments and is following them,” Omar Hamid Khan, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said.
The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif originally said it wanted to reinstate the death penalty to crack down on criminals and militants in a move criticised by international human rights groups.
Up to 8,000 people are on death row in overcrowded jails.
The moratorium drew praise because of concerns courts and police were too inept to ensure the accused a fair trial.
Pakistan broke its rules in 2012 when it executed a convicted murderer and a former army serviceman.