LAHORE: About 15 to 20 activists of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) held a rally on Tuesday to mark the “15th World Day against Death Penalty”.
The participants in the rally held outside the Lahore Press Club, and led by HRCP Director Mona Baig and Programme Coordinator Tahira Habib, demanded the government to abolish the death penalty and adopt a moratorium on death penalties. The participants were carrying placards inscribed with slogans like calling attention to miscarriages of justice and the need to honour life.
On the occasion, the HRCP activists distributed pamphlets among commuters and media which explained the need to abolish death penalty. According to the pamphlet, death penalty in Pakistan has become controversial. At the time of independence, only two offences, murder and treason, carried death penalty while today, 28 crimes are punishable by it. According to the pamphlet, increase in offences which carry death penalty has been made against logic and without due consideration.
HRCP said that execution of criminals is state killing its own citizens, adding that the capital punishment has come to end in 140 countries and the campaign for abolition of capital punishment is gaining momentum across the world.
HRCP Chief Coordinator Hafeez Buzdar said that the poor cannot afford expenses of fighting cases in the courts and in most cases they are awarded capital punishment which amounts to a discrimination in law.
According to HRCP Database Administrator Muhammad Adeel, 55 prisoners have been executed in Pakistan in 2017 by August 31, while 175 have been convicted between June-July 2017 alone.