Pakistan executes 12 prisoners ahead of Ramadan (Lead)
Islamabad, June 16 (IANS) At least 12 prisoners were executed on Tuesday in Pakistan before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Friday, Efe news agency reported.
During Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims, there is a moratorium on the death penalty.
The executions took place in different prisons in Punjab province, according to prison authorities who said most of those who were hanged were convicted for murder.
Punjab’s head of prisons, Farooq Nazir, told Efe that the executions were “a part of the national plan” devised in December, in response to a Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar in which over 140 stuidents and staff were massacred.
“I am not sure if there will be any more executions before Ramadan,” said Nazir.
An interior ministry spokesperson told Efe on Monday on condition of anonymity that it was “a common practice” to stop executions during Ramadan, when Islamic values are hailed and Muslims are called for daily prayer and religious contemplation.
Pakistan has executed around 160 of the 8,000 prisoners on death row since it reinstated the death penalty in December for terrorism-related crimes.