400 executions in Pakistan

Graphic of people being hung with the number 400

Pakistan has executed over 400 people since resuming hangings in December 2014, according to new research by Reprieve.

Pakistan has become one of the world’s most prolific executioners since lifting a moratorium on hangings which had been in place for several years.

“That Pakistan has gone from a non-executing state to executing over 400 people in little over 18 months is truly shocking. The Pakistani Government seems indifferent to the plight of the many prisoners who should not even be on death row – those arrested as children, or suffering from severe physical or mental illnesses.”
Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve’s Death Penalty Team

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According to data analysed by our team, June has seen four hangings so far, bringing the total since the lifting of the moratorium to 404 – although the figure could be higher as not all executions in the country are necessarily reported.

72 of those hangings have taken place in 2016, which means that Pakistan likely holds its position in the world’s top five executioners for the year so far – behind China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, but ahead of the USA.

Pakistan has seen a number of controversial death penalty cases recently.

Abdul Basit

Abul Basit – could be executed in his wheelchair

Abdul Basit, a paralyzed prisoner who needs to use a wheelchair, continues to be held under sentence of death despite concerns that there is no way to execute him that would not carry a high risk of prolonged suffering.  He recently told his lawyers that, during a previous attempt to hang him, the prison authorities had built a slope or ramp up to the gallows in order to take him to be hanged in his wheelchair.

2016_05_18 PUB Muhammad Anwar large

Muhammad Anwar – detained as a child

Also facing potential imminent execution is Muhammad Anwar, despite his having been detained as a child.  His case is currently before Pakistan’s Supreme Court, as both Pakistani and international law prohibit the execution of people arrested for alleged offenses which took place when they were under 18.