Islamabad: An Islamic body that advises the Pakistan government has said that any move to abolish the death penalty would go against Shariah or Islamic law.
The Council of Islamic Ideology has declared the abolition of the death penalty against Shariah and asked the government to consult it before it tables any legislation on the issue in Parliament.
The Council announced its decision after a meeting chaired by Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani. Several prominent clerics and retired judges are members of the body.
The meeting held yesterday asked the government to send any bill regarding the death penalty to the Council for deliberation.
The Council is a constitutional body that oversees legislation to ensure it does not contradict Islamic teachings and Shariah.
Reports have suggested that the government is contemplating a move to convert the death penalty into life imprisonment in order to get access to the generalised system of preferences (GSP) regime for trade with the European Union and due to pressure from international rights organisations.
The Pakistan People`s Party-led government imposed an informal moratorium on executions when it came to power in 2008, and Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh is among those who benefited from the move.
However, a soldier sentenced to death for murdering a colleague was hanged last month, becoming the first person to be executed since the moratorium was imposed over four years ago.