Pak lifts moratorium on death penalty after attack
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday lifted a self-imposed moratorium on death penalty in terror related cases, a day after ruthless Taliban militants massacred at least 132 students and nine staffers at an army-run school in Peshawar.Prime Minister Sharif told an All Parties Conference here that the moratorium on death penalty has been lifted. “Yesterday’s incident is extremely tragic,” he told the political leaders. “These sacrifices will not go wasted and we all want complete elimination of terrorism from Pakistan.” Also Read – Pro-Govt supporters rally as Hong Kong’s divisions deepenAn official from the PM office in Islamabad said that the Prime Minister abolished the moratorium on death penalty in terrorism-related cases. A de facto moratorium on civilian executions has been in place in Pakistan since 2008.Sharif had decided to resume moratorium soon after his government took office in June last year but suspended the plan under international pressure.Pakistan is feared to lose a concessionary trade deal with the European Union after resuming hangings. Some 150 countries have abolished the death penalty or no longer carry out executions. Also Read – Pak Army ‘fully prepared’ to face any challenge: Army spokesmanAccording 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. Terrorism has a very broad definition under Pakistani law. About 17,000 cases of “terrorism” are pending in special courts.Justice Project Pakistan released a report saying Wednesday that those convicted of terrorism were often tortured into confessions or denied lawyers, and that recent crackdowns had not stopped militant attacks.A moratorium on the death penalty was imposed in 2008 and only one execution has taken place since then. Taliban attackers shot most students point blank in headMost of the students at the army-run school in Peshawar were shot in the head from point blank range by the ruthless Taliban suicide attackers, in one of the most gruesome attacks against children in recent years. At least 132 students and nine staffers were killed when the attackers wearing para-military Frontier Corps uniforms stormed the Army Public School on Warsak Road and started indiscriminate firing on them on Tuesday. Quoting students, Dawn reported that the attackers scaled the boundary wall from the adjacent graveyard and started firing while moving towards the classrooms and auditorium. “Most of the students have received bullets in the head,” Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa information minister Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani said, giving out chilling account of the attack.The parents, who usually wait outside the school to pick their children at the closing time, were seen crying outside hospitals.Besides the parents and relatives, the people visiting the hospitals were also seen mourning on seeing the bodies and injured students in their blood-stained school uniform. “I saw 17 bodies at the CMH (Combined Military Hospital) and all of them had received bullets in the head,” said an eyewitness. He said that some of the bodies were mutilated. Mohammad Zeeshan, a student of grade-7, said that he and many others were getting first aid training in the school hall when they heard the gunfire. “Our trainer told us to lie down on the floor,” he said, adding that in the meantime the terrorists entered the hall. Zeeshan said the terrorists started shooting the students in their heads at a close range. “They killed our class-fellows and then left us in the main hall. I received a bullet in my foot,” the boy said. Paki begins three-day mourning and mass burials for its childrenPakistan on Wednesday began three days of mourning for the 132 children and nine school staff massacred by the Taliban in the country’s deadliest ever terror attack, as the world united in revulsion. Across the country many schools closed as a mark of respect, while those that opened held special prayers for the 141 killed in Tuesday’s assault on an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar.Schools, colleges, offices and markets were closed across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the northwestern province of which Peshawar is the capital.Funerals for the victims, many of whose bodies were pulled from the school still wearing their smart green uniforms drenched in blood, began late on Tuesday and the rest will be carried out on Wednesday.Eyewitnesses said the six attackers came in a white van and torched their vehicle before opening fire to scare away onlookers and clambering over a wall to enter the school.“One of them poured petrol over the vehicle and then set it alight. Then they opened fire in the streets and me along with another person ran away to save our life,” said witness Zabihullah, 12. Two Blasts Outside Girls College Near PeshawarTwo blasts have been heard near a girls college in Pakistan, where 132 children were killed in a massive terror attack by the Taliban at a Peshawar school yesterday. The explosions were reported in Dera Ismail Khan, another city in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. he security forces rushed to the spot of the incident and cordoned off the area.According to some reports, no militant group has claimed the responsibility of the blasts as of now and no casualty has been reported. The nature of the blasts yet to be established.