Disabled man to be hanged as Pakistan’s 300th execution

Islamabad, Nov 24 (IANS) Jail authorities in Pakistan were on Tuesday set to hang a paraplegic who developed tubercular meningitis while on death row after being convicted of murder, which according to rights group will be the 300th execution since the controversial moratorium was lifted in the country.

Abdul Basit, 43, who is paralysed from the waist down, was convicted in May 2009 of murder and is scheduled to be hanged on Wednesday.

The Amnesty International, in its report on Tuesday, said it has recorded 299 executions since the death penalty was reinstated following a deadly attack last year on an army-run public school in Peshawar that claimed over 150 lives, mostly of children.

A total of 45 people were executed in October alone, Amnesty said, making it the deadliest month since the moratorium was lifted.

“Pakistan will imminently have executed 300 people since it lifted a moratorium on executions, shamefully sealing its place among the world’s worst executioners,” the rights group said in a statement.

“Pakistan’s ongoing zeal for executions is an affront to human rights and the global trend against the death penalty,” David Griffiths, the group’s South Asia research director, said in the statement.

“Even if the authorities stay the execution of Abdul Basit, a man with paraplegia, Pakistan is still executing people at a rate of almost one a day.”

There was no evidence the “relentless” executions have done anything to check extremism in the country, he added.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was urged to suspend the execution of the paraplegic death-row convict, scheduled for Wednesday, the media reported on Tuesday.

On Monday, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan chairperson Zohra Yusuf, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said: “It is shocking that orders for Basit’s execution have been issued for a third time, despite the fact that concerns about the legality of his hanging remain as unsatisfied as ever and because he is simply not fit to be hanged.”

This was the third time that an execution warrant has been issued for Basit. He was first scheduled to be hanged on July 29, but the execution was stayed by the Lahore High Court, when the legality of the case was challenged.

On September 1, that petition was dismissed and a new warrant for the execution on September 22 was issued, but it was again put on hold after the Supreme Court ruled that the execution could not proceed.

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