Pakistan executions set to hit 300 since December – more than double previous high

November 9, 2015

Image of a man tying a noose

Pakistan has hanged 299 people since resuming executions in December last year, and could pass the 300 mark any day, according to research by international human rights organization Reprieve and Justice Project Pakistan (JPP).

Pakistan lifted a moratorium on executions in December 2014, arguing that it was a necessary move to combat terrorism. However, an investigation by the Reuters news agency published in July this year found that, of 180 people hanged since late December, “fewer than one in six were linked to militancy.”

Reprieve’s count, based on publicly available sources and information from lawyers on the ground in Pakistan, finds that on average, there has been nearly one (0.93) execution every day since the moratorium was lifted.  The total for 2015 so far is 292, with the deadliest month being October, when 47 people were hanged.

At the current rate, the projected total number of executions for 2015 will be 347. Based on the information Reprieve has been able to gather, this would appear to be the highest number on record, or at least for the past decade. During 2005-2008, the last period when Pakistan was executing, the highest annual total was 135, in 2007. Reprieve has been unable to gather consistent data for the years prior to 2005, but totals where available appear to have been much lower – in 2000, according to Amnesty International, 13 people were recorded as having been executed.

Commenting, Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said:

“This grisly milestone should cause Pakistan’s government to stop and think. The 299 people so far executed have included people sentenced to death as children, and victims of police torture. Yet independent studies show that very few of them have been alleged terrorists, despite the Government’s claim. This futile hanging spree has simply piled injustice on top of injustice, while leaving the people of Pakistan no safer than they were before.”


Notes to editors

1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve’s London office can be contacted on: communications [at] / +44 (0) 207 553 8140.

Reprieve US, based in New York City, can be contacted on: katherine [dot] oshea [at] / +1 917 855 8064.

2. The Reuters investigation into those execution in Pakistan can be seen here. Further detail on the data gathered by Reprieve is available on request.