Islamabad, March 12: Two leading Pakistani newspapers on Thursday criticized the government for reactivating the death pelty in all cases, going beyond issues of terrorism. “(This) is a grave setback to the cause of justice and rights in the country,” the Dawn said in an editorial. “In practice and in theory, the death pelty is a punishment that does not belong in modern times,” it said.
The daily pointed out that for all intents and purposes, “the death pelty disproportiotely applies to individuals who are uble to have adequate counsel and who, in some instances, simply do not have the resources or clout to purchase their freedom”.
It added: “Far too often human rights advocates have pointed out to both procedural and evidential flaws in the trial and appeals process where the state has sought the death pelty.” Echoing rights activists, the Dawn said the reality was that the death pelty does not act as a deterrent to crime in any meaningful manner.
“If it did, there would not be more than 8,000 individuals on death row in Pakistan, the vast majority convicted before the moratorium was put in place by the previous government.” And if terrorists seek to embrace death by suicide bombing, the death pelty can never be a deterrent, it said. In an editorial “Off to the Gallows”, the Daily Times asked: “What was the need or justification for this very big move? “The legal and judicial system that exists in this country begs for the government to think again.” After terrorists massacred over 140 school children in Peshawar in December, the government decided to execute terrorists sentenced to death and in jails. A total of 24 such people have been executed. Now the Pakistan government has lifted the moratorium on death pelty per se, including those cases not related to terror. The daily asked: “Lawyers of integrity and honesty, evidence and witnesses are in short supply and judges are threatened. (IANS)