EU`s criticism of executions rejected
By Baqir Sajjad Syed | 6/13/2015

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office rejected on Friday the European Union`s criticism of death penalty and emphasised that Pakistan was fully adhering to its international commitments.

`Pakistan is not violating any international law.

Pakistan is a member of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Our Constitution and legal system contain death penalty, and it is within the parameters of the international law,` Foreign Office Spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said at the weekly media briefing.

He was responding to a statement by the EU which called executions a setback for human rights in the country. The EU, while referring to the execution of Aftab Bahadur, who was reportedly a juvenile when he committed the offence, and dismissal of the latest petition by Supreme Court in Shafgat Hussain`s case, who too claims to be a juvenile at the time of the offence he committed, had said that death sentence for crimes committed by persons under eighteen years of age was neither permissible under international law nor Pakistan`s laws.

The EU, which had since the lifting of moratorium on death penalty avoided linking the row to GSP+ preferential trade scheme, for the first in its statement issued a veiled warning that trade concessions too could be affected by the executions.

`Effective implementation of the international conventions is a requirement under the European Union`s GSP+ Regulation,` the EU had said.

The FO spokesperson rejected the perception of Pakistan violating the international human rights instruments.

`It is the responsibility of the state to protect the life of its citizens and we are doing that,` he said, apparently in defence of the lifting of moratorium on death penalty in the wake of the Peshawar school tragedy, aimed at deterring terrorists.

About 158 convicts have been executed since the lifting of the moratorium most of whom had been convicted on charges of murder and not terrorism.

However, more than 500 inmates, who have been awarded death penalty after being convicted of terrorism related offences, have evaded the hangman`s noose.

Published in Dawn