That many assassinated in Quetta! Indiscriminate firing in Multan! LEAs failed! Religious scholar slain by target killers! Police reached too late! Protesters blocked the highway”, etc are the everyday ear-piercing news headlines.Religious clerics perceive such incidents as signs of the Day of Resurrection. Undergraduate senior analysts and bubble-gummer news-breakers declare it to be failure of LEAs. Cyber-bred security experts suggest providing 1,341 brand new bullet-proof vehicles to protocol hungry high-ups, constructing jail-brand walls around civil dwellings, placing of 743 concrete barriers on municipal pathways, blocking of thoroughfares approaching non-civil societies, installing CCTVs in buildings including bedrooms and toilets, tape-recording of phone calls of suspect husbands and wives and employing 4,500 more security personnel on Sindh-police-merit basis. The visionary experts are unwilling to study how our forefathers maintained peace. There used to be a grade-17-18 SP Jhelum or Gujrat assisted by an inspector (headquarters) and two or three DSPs, who effectively superintended the entire district. Aforementioned devices are important for investigation and prevention of crime, but the question is whether enforcement of the prevailing laws is not the efficient-most deterrence against crime?According to statistics of Punjab Prisons Inspectorate, 6,238 prisoners sentenced to death were confined in prisons on May 15, 2013. Mercy petitions of 464 condemned prisoners are pending with the President. Mercy petitions of 65 condemned prisoners have long been rejected by the President, yet none has been executed since 2007. Stay of executions has continuously been extended for another three months by the President’s Secretariat after every quarter. Thus, a number of terrorists and assassins sentenced to death by the courts are awaiting executions. Judgments of the courts are not being complied through such unspoken deferment of death sentences.Critics of the criminal justice system nitpick that chances of innocent people being hanged to death could not be ruled out due to poor quality of police investigations. Barrister Zafarullah has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking abolishment of capital punishment. While honouring difference of opinion, we must note that rate of conviction in murder cases is as low as 25-26 percent. The rate of acquittal is almost 73-75 percent. Confirmation of death sentence by superior judiciary is further stumpy. Some years back, only 2 percent of the condemned prisoners were actually executed. Such depleted rate of conviction confirms that judges are not blindly handing down capital punishments. On the contrary, a number of felons are acquitted owing to flawed evidence. Undoubtedly, all pillars of criminal justice system, including police, prosecution, courts and prisons, need improvement. However, many developed nations like USA have not banned executions of terrorists and assassins though their civil societies continue pressurising for abolishment of capital punishment in Pakistan. A confused mindset in Pakistan demanding abolishment of executions is, indeed, sponsoring compassion for ruthless culprits and performing hypocritical acts like observance of silence, lighting of candles and placing flower bouquets at victims’ memorials. Critics of capital punishment shall certainly never forego death penalty against a killer of their own son or daughter. Unannounced moratorium on executions has caused increase in the crime ratio. It has introduced the culture of flaunting victory signs by convicted assassins like national heroes. It has also promoted the trend of self-justice by furious mobs. Occurrences of burning alive the robbers and torturing the petty pick-pockets are sufficient to gauge intensification of such tendency. If we have chosen not to execute the convicted murderers, then protest on every incident of target killing or bomb blast by blocking the highways, shuttering-down the markets and burning unserviceable tyres is duplicitous. Likewise, expression of solidarity with the victims via lighting candles and presenting flower bouquets would barely be fashion parade by prosperous ladies and lads.The Chief Justice of Sindh High Court, Mr Mushir Alam, during his visit to courts in Karachi this month remarked that law and order situation would not improve, unless the convicts on death row were executed. The CJ further observed that it was responsibility of the government to execute the convicts, who had been awarded capital punishment by the courts. Interestingly, these assassins are being provided best food and medical facilities during incarceration that are moderately idealistic for middle class people. Execution of murderers has been frozen undeclared. In the past, government released thousands of condemned prisoners on December 7, 1988, by announcing general amnesty. Obviously, there are copious votes behind every prisoner sentenced to death.The Constitution of Pakistan directs that all laws of the country shall act in accordance with injunctions of Islam. Equitable retaliation has been prescribed for believers in the matter of slain, i.e. freeman for freeman, slave for slave and the female for the female. Addressing the men of understanding among believers, the Quran asserts life and security inherent in the law of retaliation (Surah-e-Baqrah).Analogous were the commandments, even in “Taurat” and “Injeel”. In Surah Al-Maida, it has been mentioned that Allah ordained life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal in these Holy Scriptures and their followers were directed to judge by what Allah had revealed therein. Those who disobeyed were declared disbelievers and transgressors.If we keep alive the convicted killers, terrorism, target killing and coldblooded assassinations shall flourish. Confidence of common citizens in criminal justice system shall further dwindle. Victim families rightfully expect from government that by way of acting upon judgments announced by the courts about sentencing the culprits to death, the proverb of “justice delayed is justice denied” shall now be challenged if not fully invalidated.

The writer is a serving officer posted as senior superintendent of Central Jail Faisalabad.