ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is due to execute around 500 militants in coming weeks, following Premier Nawaz Sharif’s move to end a six-year moratorium on the death penalty in terror cases.
“Interior Ministry has finalized the cases of 500 convicts who have exhausted all the appeals, their mercy petitions have been turned down by the president and their executions will take place in coming weeks,” an unnamed senior government official said on Monday.
The country has already hanged six militants since Friday amid growing public anger over the December 16 terror attack in the northwestern city of Peshawar, which killed 149 people, including 133 children.
Five of those militants executed so far were involved in an attempt to assassinate the then-military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2003, while one was involved in an assault on army headquarters four years ago.
Pakistan’s decision to resume the execution of death-row convicts came as its political and military leaders have vowed to wipe out homegrown pro-Taliban terrorism following the recent school carnage.
During the deadly assault, a group of gunmen, reportedly dressed in military uniforms, stormed the Army Public School in Peshawar, going from classroom to classroom, shooting students and teachers.
The militant group, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out in retaliation for an ongoing Pakistani military offensive against the militants in the country’s tribal belt, which began on June 15.
The Pakistani army is known as a supporter of the Taliban militants.