Pakistan brings back death penalty, to anger of rights groups

July 5, 2013 10:52

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's new government, striving to appear determined to rein in escalating crime and militancy, has ended a ban on the death penalty, in a move condemned as "shocking and retrograde" by rights group Amnesty International.

Such a reinstatement of capital punishment is rare, with about 150 countries having already either abolished the death penalty or stopped administering it.

A 2008 moratorium imposed by Pakistan's previous government, praised at the time by global rights groups, expired on June 30.

"The present government does not plan to extend it," said Omar Hamid Khan, an interior ministry spokesman.

Khan said the new policy of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government was to execute all death row prisoners, except those pardoned on humanitarian grounds. Pakistan's president must approve all executions. 

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