Pakistan to partially rescind capital punishment


–Foreign minister says Afghan president to visit Pakistan next week

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday said Pakistan was going to revoke the capital punishment for the accused to be extradited from other countries.

“We are amending the penal code of Pakistan to revoke the capital punishment for the accused to be brought back to the country under extradition treaties with other countries,” Qureshi told reporters in the capital Islamabad.

The development came a day after British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt during a joint press conference with his Pakistani counterpart in London declared that the UK would not sign “politically-motivated” extradition treaties with any country.

Qureshi had assured Hunt that his country would not “misuse” such an agreement, if signed.

Islamabad is seeking extradition of several Pakistani nationals, including the founder of Karachi-based ethnic political group Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and a former finance minister, Ishaq Dar on different charges, including murder and money laundering.

Pakistan lifted a de-facto ban on capital punishment in December 2014 following a gruesome militant attack on an army-run school in Peshawar, which killed over 140 people, mostly students.

Since then, over 300 convicts, mostly militants, have been sent to gallows. Currently, there are around 8,000 death row prisoners in Pakistani jails.

Qureshi also told reporters that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani would visit Pakistan on June 27 on the invitation of Premier Imran Khan to hold talks on different issues, including the ongoing peace process in the war-racked country.

Diplomatic ties between the two neighbours remained frosty in recent years with both accusing each other of patronizing and using militants against each other.