ISLAMABAD: The PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar has called for a wider public debate on death penalty engaging all sections of society in all provinces and not merely among politicians and opinion makers.
This he stated at a demonstration organized by HRCP here Tuesday on the International Day Against Death Penalty.
He said that even if initially it is not possible to abolish death penalty what can and must be done is to ensure basic legal guarantees in cases of death penalty.
Regardless of one’s opinion there can be no disagreement on presumption to innocence until proven guilty, the right to proper legal defence and declaring confession extracted through torture as illegal, he said.
Some jurists have proposed a time gap between conviction and pronouncement of sentence as a safeguard against hasty death penalty, he said.
He said that there are laws with locus in religion that cannot be changed. However, as against only two crimes that carried death penalty in religion, at present there were 27 crimes that carried death penalty and called for a review.
He said that in Pakistan death penalty was almost abolished for the rich and the privileged because of the mis-application of Qisas and Diyat.
It has also been abolished for the terrorists who either refuse to be terrorized or like self confessed assassin of 150 children of Army Public School Peshawar is allowed to parade on media so as to win public sympathy.
The moratorium on death penalty was lifted only in case of jet black terrorists. We ought to know how many of the hundreds executed during the past three years were terrorists and how many ordinary criminals, he said.
Let us spare a thought on not to hang a minor and a mentally sick at least. Let us also spare a thought not to send to gallows even before the appeal is accepted as happened last year in the case of two brothers, he said.