PPP wants death penalty only for terrorists

LAHORE – While the PPP is opposed to death penalty for prisoners convicted of murder and other crimes, it supports capital punishment for the terrorists.
It is for this stance that it has welcomed government’s decision to lift ban on the execution of terrorists who have been awarded death sentence by the Anti-Terrorism Courts.
In view of the concerns shown by the international community, a Presidential order of 2008 had earlier clamped ban on the death penalty. Though the rationale behind this order was to stay only the executions of prisoners convicted of murder and other crimes, but it came to be applied on terrorists awaiting death sentence as well.
The PML-N government also maintained the status quo through another Presidential order issued last year.
The present government, of late, stayed the execution of some convicted terrorists in Sindh after receiving threats from their sympathizers. This was despite the issuance of black warrants by the court.
Talking to The Nation in the context of government’s decision lifting moratorium on execution of terrorists, PPP’s Secretary General Sardar Latif Khan Khosa clarified that the PPP government had not stayed execution of terrorists in its tenure. “The death penalty should be categorised to differentiate between the terrorists and those convicted of other crimes”, he maintained, adding, that his party supported Wednesday’s government decision on execution of terrorists.
Asked why the PPP was opposed to death sentence for crimes other than terrorism, Khosa replied that given the flaws in the prosecution system, there was greater likelihood of innocent persons being wrongly implicated into murder cases. “It is for this reason that PPP is averse to awarding of capital punishment in such cases”, he added.
Talking about the decisions made in the multi-party conference at Peshawar on Wednesday, Latif Khosa, also a former Punjab Governor, said that if history was any guide the commissions and committees had never solved any problem. “They are made only to push the matter under the rug”, he remarked.
The PPP leader was of the view that heads of political parties should not have adjourned the meeting till they reached some tangible decision to root out terrorism.
He came down hard on the PML-N government for its lackluster response to acts of violence and extremism. “The government is now shedding crocodile tears over the incident after a lot of damage has already been done to the country due to its inaction”, he observed.
He believed that Zarb-e-Azb operation would be of no use if the government did not address the root cause of the problem. According to him, the present government was not sincere to take the issue head on due to political expediencies. He informed this scribe that not a single meeting of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) had been held in the last one year whereas it was supposed to meet after every three months. He lamented that Directorate of Internal Security comprising intelligence agencies, both civil and military, and which was supposed to provide information to the NACTA had not been formed as yet. Likewise, he added, the Rapid Response Force was yet to see the light of the day.
He further stated that no funds had so far been allocated for these counter terrorism departments.
To a query, Khosa questioned what had prevented the government to regulate the affairs of madrassas (religious schools) to whom he called nurseries of terrorism. He stressed the need for a uniformed syllabus for all religious schools to end sectarian violence which, he asserted, was the outcome of conflicting interpretation of Islam by religious scholars.
The government should also investigate the source of funding of some charity organisations also fanning extremism in society, he concluded.
Source: The Nation

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