Last update: Thu, 11 Feb 2016 05am

Hanging cancelled after last-minute pardon

Authorities in Punjab on Thursday cancelled the hanging of a convicted sectarian militant after the victim's family pardoned him, officials and a family member said. The case is seen as a test of the government's plan to execute convicted terrorists in the aftermath of a school massacre that claimed 150 lives in the country's deadliest terror attack.

The pardoned militant, Ikramul Haq, is a member of banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi who was sentenced to death by an anti-terror court in 2004 for sectarian killings three years earlier. He was set to be hanged in Lahore early Thursday but his family came to a deal with the victim's relatives on Wednesday night, Haq's lawyer, Ghulam Mustafa Mangan, told AFP.

"The hanging was cancelled after we reached a compromise with the complainant's family. They have pardoned my client," Mangan said, without giving further details of the deal. Murder can be forgiven under law in exchange for blood money, while rival militant groups may chose to pardon each others' convicted killers. Ehsanul Haq, brother of Ikramul Haq, confirmed the cancellation of the hanging. A senior prison official also confirmed the move, adding: "A magistrate has recorded the statements and the execution has been stayed. Now the court will decide whether the person (should) be acquitted or not."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015