Friday, 30 January 2009

Abolition proposal to Pakistan's president

Pakistan's president Asif Ali Zardari has received a proposal to convert death sentences to life imprisonment, according to a television report quoted by the Daily Times.

The newspaper reported today that the Interior Ministry sent a summary proposal to the president for approval.

According to the Pakistani newspaper, the television report said the federal government sent the proposal to the Law Ministry six months ago, which then forwarded a revised draft to the Interior Ministry.

It said if the law was approved, it would not apply to "people sentenced to death for terrorist attacks harming national integrity".

In June 2008, prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced the government would propose to the president that all death sentences be commuted to life imprisonment.

If it was applied to Pakistan's current death row population, up to 7,000 death row prisoners could be spared execution by hanging.

Despite the review, president Asif Ali Zardari released a new ordinance on electronic crime in early November making 'cyber-terrorism' a capital offence, and human rights organisations have reported that prisoners were still being executed.

Related stories:
Pakistan's mixed signals on death penalty -- 2 December 2008
Will Pakistan's death row be emptied? -- 24 June 2008

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