LAHORE According to a report published in this newspaper President Zardari stayed over 6,000 executions in Punjab alone during the past three years. Most of those awarded capital punishment are murderers or are involved in other serious crimes. It has come to light for the first time that the president used his constitutional power to save so many criminals. Different people will have different reactions to the gesture. The relatives of the condemned prisoners will be happy while those of the victims must be very angry. Some human rights organizations opposed to death penalty will be all praise for the president for his leniency. But the fact is that this is not the right use of presidential power. At a time when crime graph in all provinces is going up, there is a need for legislation to award exemplary punishments even for those offences which are not punishment with death at present. There is just no justification for providing any kind of relief to those who had killed others. The track record of the present government about implementing court decisions is not very good. It has been hampering or delaying implementation of important decisions on various pretexts. The latest example is that of Mr Zafar Qureshi, whose has been reluctantly allowed to take charge as FIAs additional director general. The apex court wants the NICL scam investigated by him. But media reports suggest that the government will continue using delaying tactics till Mr Qureshi retires by the end of the next month. The government has also been putting up hurdles in the investigation of the Haj scam because of the alleged involvement of the prime ministers son. This gives a clear impression that the government does not give much importance to court verdicts. On the other hand, the president has filed a reference in the Supreme Court against what he calls the judicial murder of Mr Bhutto, the father-in-law of Mr Zardari. The question is what will be the significance of the apex courts opinion when its verdicts are being ridiculed. The rulers should imagine for a while the sentiments of those who lost their loved ones at the hands of the killers convicted by courts. They will like the murderers hanged in public and will be justified in harbouring this desire. But when the president uses his powers to stay the hangings, they will feel upset. They will lose faith in the judicial process. They will recall the difficulties they had to face to have the trials completed in various courts and the huge fees paid to the lawyers who argued their cases. If the president has stayed the executions, the victim families will think of other measures to take revenge. Needless to point out that such a lenient attitude towards criminals would embolden outlaws. They would commit more crime in future fearlessly. The capital punishment has always been the most effective way of controlling crime. The concept of eye for eye and ear for ear, provided in Holy Quran is not without any logic. It is being practised in Saudi Arabia and, as a result, the crime rate in the kingdom is negligible. Those awarded capital punishment are beheaded in public, which has a deterrent effect. Anyone who sees a beheading carried out in public will never ever dare commit a crime. Iran offers another example. After the 1979 Revolution, it gave capital punishment to many criminals. This provided the West with an opportunity to start a negative propaganda against the new leadership, but it purged the society of many a crime. The uniform application of law did wonders. Ayatollah Khomeini did not spare even Sadeq Ghotbzadeh, the then foreign minister, who was supposed to marry his grand daughter, when an allegation against him was proved. He was made to face the firing squad. The president must review his policy about staying the executions. The judicial verdicts should be taken to their logical conclusions. The parliament should also look into the matter. The lawmakers should see whether the president should really have the power to pardon or reprieve killers.