Peshawar attack aftermath: Pakistan prepares to execute terrorists facing gallows

Islamabad: With Pakistan lifting the moratorium on the death sentences, 17 of the 55 convicted terrorists whose mercy petitions have been dismissed will be executed in the next few days, according to media reports.

There are at least 522 criminals sentenced to death in terror and other cases related to serious crimes in the country, including 11 who were convicted by a military court. 

Punjab province has the highest number of death row convicts with 465, followed by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with 30, Sindh with 14 and Baluchistan with 13, the News reported.

The mercy appeals of 55 death row inmates have been dismissed by the Supreme Court and President Mamnoon Hussain. 

Seventeen of them will be executed in the next few days. 

"Their death warrants will be issued and their relatives will be called in to have their last meeting with them," the Express Tribune quoted Interior Ministry as saying.

A de facto moratorium on civilian executions has been in place in Pakistan since 2008.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered the lifting of self-imposed moratorium on the death penalty in terror-related cases after the massacre of 148 people, including 132 students, in the worst terrorist attack in Pakistan's history.

"These sacrifices will not go wasted and we all want complete elimination of terrorism from Pakistan," Sharif said.

"If terrorists are not punished, then who will be punished?" he quipped. "We have proposed terror cases should be expedited."

He said important legal steps will be taken to plug loopholes in the justice system so that militants should not use them to escape punishment. 

The Express Tribune also said Interior Ministry today forwarded 120 mercy appeals to the premier for consideration.

Pakistan is feared to lose a concessionary trade deal with the EU after resuming hangings. Some 150 countries have abolished the death penalty or no longer carry out executions.

According to the interior ministry estimates more than 8,000 death row prisoners are in Pakistan who have already exhausted all options and would be hanged within weeks if the government allowed the executions.

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