On the 15th World Day Against Death Penalty, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has urged the government to urgently institute safeguards to ensure that a generalised resumption of executions does not violate Pakistan’s human rights obligations.

According to Justice Project Pakistan, at least 8200 people are on death row in Pakistan. And 477 have been executed since December 2014. At least 2,393 Pakistanis were executed in Saudi Arab jails.

According to World Coalition against Death Penalty, 104 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, while seven countries have abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes and 30 countries are abolitionist in practice. According to data, 23 countries carried out executions in 2016 and the top five executioners were China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

According to Amnesty International, it is believed that thousands of executions took place in 2016.

In Pakistan, executions decreased by 239 in 2016. Indonesia executed four people, Taiwan (1), Singapore (4), Japan (3) people, Malaysia (9) and Amnesty has not given any estimates for North Korea and Vietnam.

The South Eastern countries like Maldives and the Philippines took steps in the wrong direction towards the resumptions of executions after more than six decades and the reintroduction of the death penalty, according to Amnesty International.

In a statement, the HRCP Commission said: “As we observe the 15th World Day against the Death Penalty, HRCP calls upon the government to take stock of the pressing issues that have arisen ever since it terminated the moratorium in December 2014.”

“In addition to the various and well-documented challenges that a generalised recourse to capital punishment presents, there is an urgent need to introduce safeguards in instances where the age of the convict or his or her mental or physical ability is in question.”

Furthermore, the socio-economic status of a convict tends to be directly proportional to their risk of being sentenced to death and execution. This year the World Day against Death Penalty is bringing into focus the link between poverty and capital punishment.

“While HRCP calls upon the government to suspend the death penalty in the country as a first step towards abolition, it demands that these new issues should be urgently addressed through a conscious policy and not merely through last minute action in response to pleas from civil society in individual cases."