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Petition to stop death penalty for 400 prisoners in Pak

Last Updated: Sunday, July 14, 2013 - 16:05

Lahore: Some 400 death row prisoners in Pakistani jails should not be executed, a petition filed in a court here has appealed to the Pakistan President.

The interior ministry has recently sent 400 cases of condemned prisoners to President Asif Ali Zardari for decision, citing overcrowded jails, among other reasons.

Barrister Zafarullah Khan, who filed a petition in the Supreme Court Lahore registry yesterday pleaded to the court to halt execution of all death row prisoners whose mercy petitions were pending before the President.

A petition for striking down the capital punishment in the country is already lying pending with the apex court.

The issue of execution of condemned prisoners has come to light post the change in regime in the country.

The petitioner argued: "Elimination of human lives without deciding the law points will be illegal and unconstitutional and be a great threat for the country`s judicial system."
He said as the main petition on the subject was pending the interior ministry`s act amounted to `contempt of court`.

He prayed to the court to strike down the death penalty in books of law as it was unconstitutional and that such order was necessary to save the innocent from being wrongly convicted under the current system.

The petitioner said: "Weak and inefficient prosecution most of the time resulted in conviction of innocent people and the execution of former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was also a glaring example of this.

Corruption in society has also overwhelmed the criminal justice system in the country whereof the chances of the innocent being declared guilty has increased manifold."

Right to Life had been embodied as natural right in Article 9 of the Constitution whereas end to life through unnatural means was quite incompatible and inconsistent with the concept of right to life, the petitioner said.

As the PML-N, considered to be a right-wing party, it is expected that it will defend capital punishment and ensure execution of condemned prisoners once it has its president after September 9, on the completion of Zardari`s term in office.

First Published: Sunday, July 14, 2013 - 15:52
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