ICJ welcomes decision by Pakistan to reinstate the death penalty moratorium

Following Pakistan’s reinstation of its moratorium on the death penalty, the ICJ calls on the Government to make the moratorium permanent and to move to abolish the death penalty in national law.

“This is a step forward for human rights in Pakistan,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Asia-Pacific Director. “It brings Pakistan closer to the regional and worldwide trend towards abolishment of the death penalty.”

Pakistan has had a moratorium on the death penalty in place since June 2008, with only the exception of Muhammad Hussain’s execution in November 2012 following a court martial.

The newly elected Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Government decided not to renew the moratorium when it expired in June 2013.

The ICJ and other human rights groups denounced the move and urged Pakistan to immediately adopt a moratorium on the death penalty, prompting the Government to reconsider its decision.

According to the Interior Ministry spokesperson, today’s decision was taken to meet Pakistan’s international human rights obligations.

Pakistani Taliban also warned the Government that they would launch retaliatory attacks if any of their members were executed.

“This brave move by the government should be the first step toward reestablishing the rule of law and providing accountability in Pakistan,” Zarifi added. “The Government should now ensure that members of armed groups like the Taliban who have carried out serious human rights abuses like extrajudicial executions and attacks on civilians are held to account.”

The ICJ considers the death penalty in all cases to constitute a violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.


Sam Zarifi, ICJ Asia-Pacific Regional Director, (Bangkok), t:+66 807819002; email: sam.zarifi(a)icj.org

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