Pakistan bowed to the pressure from the country's influential army to lift a de facto ban on the death penalty on Wednesday, a day after Taliban militants killed 141 people, mostly students, at a school in the city of Peshawar.
“The army chief has expressed its reservations over non-implementation on capital punishment to those who have been convicted under terrorism charges. Therefore, I have approved lifting of the ban on capital punishment in terrorism cases. Now those terrorists who have already been convicted by the courts can be hanged,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told an all parties conference in Peshawar.
Though there capital punishment has not been officially banned in Pakistan no executions have taken place since 2008 in line with an EU condition for trade and export with Pakistan.
According to interior ministry statistics, around 8,000 convicts are waiting in jails to be hanged but the has been lifted only for terrorism-related charges.
The Pakistani Taliban’s mother coalition, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, has already claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack in Peshawar, the deadliest in the country’s history.
The attack has been criticized by other factions of the Taliban.
“We vehemently condemned this horrible attack. We neither have been part of the TTP, nor will we support its terrorism,” said a spokesman for Hafiz Gul Bahadur group, known as the powerful Haqqani Network which has conducted attacks on foreign forces in Afghanistan.