The government has suspended the implementation of the death sentence for an indefinite period, Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar Ali told the National Assembly on Wednesday.
“Until the consultation between the President [Mamnoon Hussain], and Prime Minister [Nawaz Sharif] is completed, implementation on death sentence has been put on hold,” said Nisar.
Though the government publicly denied any external pressure regarding the decision, no prisoner condemned to death has been executed in the last six years due to apparent pressure from the European Union, which has repeatedly demanded Pakistan abolish capital punishment.
The EU recently granted Pakistan special trading status that allows Pakistan’s exports, especially textiles, greater access to the EU’s 27 member states.
Many believe that the status was granted following a tacit assurance from Pakistan on legislation aimed at abolishing capital punishment.
Currently, there are 7164 people including 51 women, who have been condemned to death for rape, murder, terrorism, kidnap for ransom, child abduction, and other cases.
An attempt by the Pakistan People’s Party government to convert the death penalty into a life term was abandoned due to pressure from right-wing groups.