Islamabad, Jan. 9 (ANI): The Pakistan government has in most likelihood dropped its plans of introducing new legislation to convert death penalty into life imprisonment, according to a local newspaper.
Earlier there were indications that the government will table a bill in Parliament seeking to ban the death penalty altogether but after failing to forge consensus over the issue, it backtracked finding the matter "sensitive", stated The Express Tribune.
The paper quoted Law and Justice Secretary Yasmin Abbasi, as saying that the government does not have any plans to introduce legislation to abolish death punishment.
According to officials from the law ministry, President Asif Ali Zardari had directed the ministries of interior and law, and provincial home departments to prepare a comprehensive report on the issue.
The directions came from the Presidency when it received multiple mercy petitions of condemned prisoners last year - a total of over 522 mercy petitions were received, officials said. Some 462 mercy petitions were received from Punjab, 28 from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 20 from Sindh and 12 from Balochistan.
Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said there is no proposal to abolish death punishment altogether. However, during the past four years (excluding a case involving an army man) not a single convicted person has been sent to the gallows, he added.
The government has been facing tough resistance over such matters whenever it intended to amend laws including legislation on blasphemy laws or the conversion of death penalty into life imprisonment. Last year, Islamabad was close to signing an extradition treaty with the United Kingdom but it could not finalise it due to the absence of such laws.
Political parties, which include Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and Awami National Party, said they would not support any such law it would act as deterrence for crime control. (ANI)