Execution moratorium not for Taliban: Pakistan President Zardari

Last Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 10:16

Islamabad: Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday said maintaining moratorium on death penalties is the European Union`s condition for granting preferential market access to Pakistan and should not be linked to dealing with Taliban militants.

Speaking during a dinner hosted by Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah in his honour, he said Taliban were non-state elements.

However, there was no harm in negotiating with them, the Dawn quoted him as saying.

European Union Ambassador to Pakistan Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, had said that the European Commission had no condition linking abolition of death penalty to grant of preferential market access to the country.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had scrapped a five-year moratorium on the death penalty in June in a bid to crackdown on criminals and militants in the violence-torn country.

Hangings were due to resume last week until a temporary stay was ordered following objections from the President and rights groups.

President Zardari, who is set to vacate the Presidency on September 8, said stopping the announced and planned executions was not aimed at any specific segment of the society.

"Extending the moratorium cannot be linked with facilitating potential peace talks with Taliban militants," he added.

Zardari, who is set to revamp his beleaguered Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) upon completion of his presidential tenure, vowed to extend all possible assistance to the PML-N government.

He also vowed to remain active in national politics and not to live a "retired? life and said that he will not let the PML-N government be derailed.
"I will welcome the newly elected president in the Presidency," he added.

Speaking on May 11 General elections, Zardari said everybpdy knows that non-democratic elements did not want democracy to take roots and the internal differences among political parties were exploited by them to derail democracy.

Zardari said there was a need to work together for peace in the region as peace and economic development in the region was also critical for democracy.

The President also said that the militants would not be allowed to use Pakistan`s territory to launch attack outside our borders.

He said terrorists on both sides of the border kill our people and the people of Afghanistan, adding that both the people and the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan should join hands in eliminating the terrorists and their hideouts.
He said that blame game would be counterproductive to the cause and it would only strengthen the militants.

First Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 10:16

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