Peshawar attack: Pakistan lifts moratorium on death penalty after Taliban attack

The moratorium was imposed in 2008 and only one execution has taken place since then

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The Independent Online

The prime minister of Pakistan has lifted a moratorium on the death penalty in the wake of the massacre by the Taliban at a school in the city of Peshawar in which 142 people were killed.

Government spokesman Mohiuddin Wani has told the Reuters news agency that Prime Minister Nawaz Shafi had approved a ministerial committee’s decision to lift the suspension.

He said: "It was decided that this moratorium should be lifted. The prime minister approved."

"Black warrants will be issued within a day or two," he said, referring to execution orders.

No details were given about who might be executed under such orders.

The moratorium was imposed in 2008 and only one execution has taken place since then. More than 8,000 prisoners are believed to be on death row in Pakistan.

According to legal aid group Justice Project Pakistan, about 10 per cent of those on death row had been convicted of offences labelled "terrorism".

A report by Justice Project Pakistan today claims those convicted of terrorism were often tortured into confessions or denied lawyers.

The group said: "Swathes of defendants whose crimes bear no relation to terrorism have been sentenced to death following extremely unfair trials - whilst terrorist attacks continue unabated."

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Sirajul Haq, head of the Islamic political party Jamat-e-Islami, leads the funeral prayers of two school boys who were killed by Taliban militants at a school run by the Army, in Peshawar, Pakistan (EPA)

Mass funerals were under way today for the victims of the massacre at the military-run school.

Prayer vigils were being held across the nation while students in other schools spoke of their shock after seven Taliban gunmen, with explosives strapped to their bodies, stormed the Army Public School and College on Tuesday morning.

A number of victims were believed to have been killed in a suicide blast after the attack started at 10am local time, while further explosions were heard later in the day.

Army commandos fought the Taliban throughout the day until the school was cleared and all the attackers were reported to have been killed.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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