Activists slam Pakistan for resuming executions
Rights groups on Saturday condemned Pakistan's decision to hang two convicted militants in its first executions for six years, as leaders vowed decisive action in the wake of a Taliban school massacre that left 149 people dead. Pakistan described the bloody rampage in Peshawar on Tuesday as its own "mini 9/11", saying it was a game changer in its fight against terror.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014
The Human Rights Watch termed the executions "a craven politicised reaction to the Peshawar killings", demanding that no further hangings be carried out.
"Pakistan's government has chosen to indulge in vengeful blood-lust instead of finding and prosecuting those responsible for the horrific Peshawar attack," the group said in a statement Saturday.
Rights campaign group Amnesty International estimates that Pakistan has more than 8,000 prisoners on death row, with more than 500 of them convicted on terror-related charges, according to the government.
"This is a cynical reaction from the government. It masks a failure to deal with the core issue highlighted by the Peshawar attack, namely the lack of effective protection for civilians in north-west Pakistan," Amnesty said about Friday's executions.
- 'Final elimination' -
The United Nations also called for Pakistan to reconsider executing terror suspects, saying that "the death penalty has no measurable deterrent effect on levels of insurgent and terrorist violence" and "may even be counter-productive".
The army has been waging a major offensive against longstanding Taliban and other militant strongholds in the restive tribal areas on the Afghan border for the last six months.
But a series of fresh strikes after the Peshawar attack, which wrought devastation at an army-run school, suggest the military is stepping up its campaign.
Seven militants were killed on Saturday morning in two separate incidents as security forces hit their hideouts in the restive northwest.
A US drone strike in the lawless tribal area also hit a militant compound killing five militants early Saturday.