Islamabad: Anti-terrorism courts (ATC) in Pakistan issued death warrants on Tuesday for four prisoners, media reported. The warrants were issued for Malik Ashraf and Tahir, who were to be hanged on March 17 and 18 respectively, according to a Dawn online report. The two convicts have been imprisoned at Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Central Jail for almost a decade.
Death warrants were also issued for Sajid alias Talu and Muhammad Akhtar, who are to be executed in Faisalabad's Central Prison on March 13, according to a Geo News report. The two prisoners were awarded the death sentence in 2001 and 1999 respectively after being proven guilty of murder.
According to a report on the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP), presented to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday, 24 death row prisoners have been executed since December 24, 2014. The report added that security agencies had arrested close to 26,000 suspects in thousands of search operations in the country.
Pakistan had lifted a six-year-old moratorium on the death penalty for convicted terrorists in December last year following the Peshawar school attack in which over 140 school children and staff were killed. The NAP was constituted in the aftermath of the Peshawar school massacre, with the aim of mapping out a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism in Pakistan. Prime Minister Sharif is himself heading a committee to ensure swift implementation of the plan.
Earlier on Tuesday, an interior ministry official confirmed that the Pakistan government had now completely lifted its moratorium on the death penalty, which now applied to all cases, not merely those related to terrorism. A day earlier, an ATC in Karachi issued fresh death warrants for two inmates --Afzal and Faisal -- convicted of murder during a house robbery.