Abolishing death penalty
Posted on 12 months ago
The European Union, Amnesty International and international human rights organisations term death penalty as an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity. Today 139 countries are abolitionists in law or practice. Of the 58 countries/territories retaining the death penalty, 18 were known to have carried out executions in 2009 (China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the US top the league) while Pakistan has made no execution since 2008 and Brundi, Togo and the US state of New Mexico have abolished death penalty in their law and practice in
2010-11. Despite a marked trend towards abolition and restriction of the use of capital punishment in most countries, the numbers and manner of death penalty applications worldwide remain alarming.
International human rights organisations are working to achieve universal abolition of death penalty.
While 139 countries - more than two-thirds of the countries of the world - are abolitionist in law or practice, still at least 8,679 executions were carried out in the last two years. And wherever capital punishment remained in force, there are serious problems with regard to the respect of international norms and standards. This makes abolitionist initiatives the more important.
The UN is also playing pivotal role in abolishing death penalty.
However, while figures of death penalty application around the world are decreasing, they remain much too high where capital punishment remains in force.
There are serious problems with regard to the respect of international norms and standards, notably in the limitation of the death penalty to the most serious crimes, the exclusion of juvenile offenders from its scope, and guarantees of a fair trial. In countries like Pakistan justice is delayed and the influential elite try to overshadow the justice system by unfair and underhand methods. In statute laws of Pakistan there are 32 different crimes for which death penalty is awarded, though at the time of creation of Pakistan capital punishment was specified for only two different crimes.
It means 30 more categories are included in capital punishment laws. The death penalty envisaged in the fundamental documents of Islam is not for more than two or three crimes.
The current democratic government of Pakistan has been trying to make some initiatives to abolish this punishment.
No execution since 2008, is also a part of the policy to abolish this law. For this both government and human rights organisations of Pakistan have to play a vital role.
Death sentence causes psychological trauma and many death row inmates suffer from mental illness and mental disabilities because of abominable conditions in prisons.
It is beyond any shadow of doubt that death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and debasing punishment. In Pakistan, justice is delayed and, furthermore, our justice system at lower courts is blemished and unfair methods are used.
Knowing all these facts and figures, Pakistan's govt has had a moratorium on the death penalty since October 2008. Measures taken by the government are truly praiseworthy but only one case of Behram Khan, who, after spending nine years in jail for killing a lawyer in court, is waiting for the day the executioner will tighten the noose around his neck, will prove stigma to government's positive measures. In my opinion, government ought to abolish the death penalty in both law and practice forever.
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