Zardari to discuss executions with Sharif

Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari wants to discuss the next week hanging of two militants with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif amidst calls to cancel their planned execution, his spokesman said on Saturday.

Islamabad: Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari wants to discuss the next week hanging of two militants with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif amidst calls to cancel their planned execution, his spokesman said on Saturday.

The PML-N government has completed formalities to send the convicted militants to gallows on Tuesday. The executions, if carried out, will end a five-year moratorium imposed by Zardari.

"President has referred the case of two convicts to PM and desired to discuss the issue with PM," Farhatullah Babar said.

He also said that the "president has neither stayed any execution nor ordered any." It is not clear as yet how Sharif will respond to the proposal by Zardari to discuss it.

After an open letter to the government yesterday by Human Rights Watch and International Committee of Jurists asking to renew its moratorium on the death penalty, Zardari is expected to convince the PML-N leadership to delay the move.

A counter-terrorism court in Sindh province has issued `black warrants` for the execution of two members of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Attaullah alias Qasim and Muhammad Azam alias Sharif.

The two men were convicted by a counter-terrorism court in July 2004 for killing a Shia doctor and are scheduled to be executed on Tuesday.

So far government was determined to go ahead despite threats from the Taliban to target the PML-N government if militants are hanged.

Pakistan has had a moratorium on the death penalty since June 2008, with only the execution of Muhammad Hussain in November 2012 following a court martial.

According to official figures, Pakistan has more than 7,000 prisoners on death row, one of the largest populations of prisoners facing execution in the world.

PTI

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