UK, Germany ‘concerned’ over restoration of death penalty

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Nisar says it is not possible for Pakistan to maintain partial moratorium on capital punishment

Two key European countries have expressed concern over the lifting of the ban on death penalty in Pakistan.

The government lifted the ban on death sentence last week, which has paved the way for law enforcement agencies to execute more than 8,000 prisoners whose mercy petitions have been rejected.

To discuss the issue of capital punishment, British High Commissioner Philip Barton called on Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali, and Member of German Parliament Christoph Strässer met Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and many other senior officials.

“I am disappointed by the decision of the Pakistani government to completely lift the death penalty moratorium. Capital punishment is inhuman and is no deterrent. I urge our Pakistani partners to reconsider this decision,” said Strässer in a statement issued by the German embassy on Wednesday.

During his meetings with Fatemi, Punjab Home Minister Col (r) Shuja Khanzada and other dignitaries, he also raised the issue of the prosecution of religious and ethnic minorities, religious freedom and freedom of expression, as well as women’s and children’s rights in Pakistan.

British envoy Barton also took up this issue with Interior Minister Nisar in Islamabad, according to an official statement.

The minister said that though it was an internal matter of Pakistan, he understands the concern of Pakistan’s friends in the international community on the issue.

After the withdrawal of the moratorium on capital punishment for terrorism-related cases, it was not possible to maintain a partial moratorium in other cases as that would have been discriminatory and against the law and the Constitution, the interior minister said.

The law does not allow partial or discriminatory implementation in any form, he explained. He further elaborated that due process will be followed, in letter and spirit, in ensuring a just application of the law. Pakistan has an independent judiciary which will ensure the rights of every defendant, he said.