“We will take revenge for each and every drop of our

children’s blood that was spilt today.”

–Mian Nawaz Sharif, 2014.

Prior to the first anniversary of the APS attack, at least four terrorists found guilty have been hanged. So harrowing was the tragedy that even a year later it is impossible to read through the heart-wrenching stories published as a memorial to the children claimed by the ghastly attack. Our Prime Minister has made sure that every person held responsible for it, must surely pay the price. Indeed ‘no forgiveness’ was to be given.

Terrorists had methodically killed more than 150 pupils and staff at the Army Public School (APS) on December 16, 2014. The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had claimed responsibility for the massacre. Following the attack, the government lifted a moratorium on the death penalty and chalked out a National Action Plan under which military courts were set up across the country to try hardcore terrorists.

Our approach to criminal justice post-Peshawar is thus understandable, but not correct, morally, legally or logically. We have no empirical basis to argue that hanging people deters others from engaging in crime. The deterrence value of the state inflicting death on criminals is even more suspect in view of the nature of terror we face – which involves faith-motivated suicide attackers. We tend to forget that this is not the only way to bring justice to the people that suffered in the attack. We have seen no rehabilitation efforts or concrete monetary compensation for the victims to carry on. Because justice systems are run by humans, they are bound to make mistakes.