FIDH welcomes with HRCP continuation of death penalty moratorium

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Today’s official statement comes a few days after FIDH and HRCP sent a joint letter to the Governement of Pakistan, urging it to maintain the moratorium on the death penalty, as a first step towards abolition.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has welcomed the federal government’s announcement on continuing the moratorium on capital punishment and has called for a thorough review of the death penalty regime in the country.

In a statement on Friday, the Commission said: “HRCP welcomes the government’s statement that it would persist with the moratorium on death penalty. The news brings some respite for thousands of death row inmates—especially those whose execution was imminent—and their families.

It is encouraging that the government did not succumb to pressure and acted not only in national interest but also did well by the norms of justice. HRCP is particularly happy to note that the government has cited the country’s international commitments, which cannot possibly exclude human rights, as the ground for the decision.

Although a good first step, the present decision will have meaning only if we have a complete review of the death penalty regime in Pakistan. And the sooner the better.

It is important now that Pakistan moves beyond the informal moratorium that has been tried in the country in the last few years. For an abnormally high number of offences that carry the death penalty remain on the statute books still, even though research in a number of countries has laid bare the myth that capital punishment serves as a deterrent against crime. The courts continue to award death penalty, adding to around 8,000 death row prisoners already crammed in overcrowded jails. Nothing has diminished concerns of the people about the miscarriage of justice through the various stages of investigation and adjudication.

HRCP calls upon the government to expeditiously move to address these concerns as well.

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