Tuesday, 17 October 2006

Call for abolition: Pakistan columnist

A Pakistani political columnist has called for the abolition of the death penalty and an immediate pardon for Mirza Tahir Hussain.

Mushir Anwar, writing in the PakTribune online news service, said Hussain's case "invites civil society's attention to reconsider the issue of death penalty in the light of the ethical problem it poses".

Hussain is set to be hanged on 1 November, at the end of Ramadan, after an unfair trial process and 18 years in jail.

In his column "Abolishing death penalty", Mushir Anwar argued that the way an execution was carried out could be "described as premeditated murder in cold blood on the part of the state".

"The argument that the state is only killing a person who has killed another fellow being is an unethical justification and does not absolve the state of the wrongdoing it commits that in its own eyes is a punishable crime," he wrote.

"Secondly, execution of a killer by the state is an act of revenge which is unbecoming of the state which is supposed to be the noblest and the highest of human institutions. Revenge is universally regarded as mean and ignoble while forgiveness is universally held to be divine."

'Compassion under Islam'
He said abolition of the death penalty was consistent with the principles of Islam, which called for compassion over revenge.

"In Islam, particularly, compassion is held superior to justice. In fact, the predilection of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) is for compassion and forgiveness.

"A Muslim society should embody the Prophet’s compassion and Allah’s mercifulness, His benevolence and boundless clemency in its laws."

Mushir Anwar argued that abolition in Pakistan would promote a good image for Islam and set a positive example for other Islamic countries.

"We, who hanker so much after our good image and want Islam to be known as a humane system of life, can give the Muslim world a lead by abolishing the crude and vengeful penalty of death from our statute books altogether," he wrote

"A life term with hard labour in the service of society should be the highest punishment. It gives the criminal the chance to reform and regain the goodness Allah created him with."

Pardon Mirza call
He said Mirza Tahir Hussain “has already paid heavily for his crime [and] should be pardoned by the president without any further delay. Let not a good act wait if it is to be done."

He concluded his column with the words for President Musharaff: "You have the law on your side. Use it."

Related stories:
Pakistan: Thousands in "brutal" system – 12 October, 2006
Pakistan: Hanging delayed, but how long? -- 03 October, 2006
UK pressure over Pakistan hanging -- 01 October, 2006

1 comment:

Simran Khan said...

How r u doing?

Death penalty is an ultimate cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment. As we all know, a criminal is not born as such, his/her circumstances, life's problems and influences makes him so. Involved reasons include our inefficient and corrupt legal/judicial system as well. Police here easily and forcibly takes confessions from the accused by applying IIIrd degree torture and moreover some judges auction "judicial orders" for bribe.

In these cases, capital punishment is unfair & inhumane. Judges are human beings and so can err as well. No judge is god. If a hanged person is later found innocent can the judge bring back the dead to life? Death penalty is irreversible, irrevocable and fundamentally, has failed as a deterrent. The people who give an outcry for continuation of death penalty as a punishment, are biased, butchers and cannibals. Those condemned to death penalty are usually the poor, tribal, dalits or political dissidents, who are unable to afford & articulate lawyers who can efficiently argue their case. No rich & mighty criminal is ever prosecuted.

Some say, death penalty is a good return for killers; others think abolishing death penalty is the best. I think, our aim should be to kill the criminal in the human and not the human himself. Post your points on http://indiademocracy.com/article/user/article.jsp?articleid=art20061009215849 or

Ur new friend

Simran Khan