FAISALABAD/LAHORE - The Faisalabad prison authorities on Friday hanged two death-row prisoners convicted of murder and rape, bringing to 27 the number of executions in Pakistan since it resumed capital punishment in December last.

Sajid alias Taru and Muhammad Akhtar alias Haseena were hanged to death early Friday morning at the Faisalabad Central Jail. Sajid was sentenced to death for murder while Akhtar was convicted of committing murder and rape.

Faisalabad Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) awarded death sentence to Akhtar in 2001. On December 10, 1999, he forced an entry into a house and attempted to rape a woman. The convict also stabbed to death the father-in-law of the victim, Manzoor, over resistance.

The families of the victims and Akhtar struck a deal to pardon the convict late Thursday, but the authorities rejected it, saying cases of murder and rape were not pardonable.

The appeals of the convict had already been rejected by the Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court. His mercy appeal was also turned down by the president.

The other death row convict, Muhammad Sajid, had killed one Khursheed Bibi and wounded her husband Azhar on March 12, 2000, over a personal feud.

He was awarded death sentence by an ATC court in Faisalabad on March 30, 2001.

Sajid’s petitions were also turned downed by the superior courts and his mercy appeal was also rejected by the president.

It was the first ever hangings at the Faisalabad Central Jail. Since lifting of moratorium, all previous executions took place in the city’s district jail.

Initially, executions were resumed for terrorism offences only in the wake of a Taliban massacre at an army-run school in Peshawar, which claimed the lives of more than 150 persons, mostly schoolchildren, on December 16, 2014.

A total of 27 people have been executed in Pakistan since the government restarted executions, prompting condemnation from international human rights organisations.

The United Nations, the European Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called on Pakistan to re-impose its moratorium on the death penalty.

The death penalty moratorium, in force since 2008, was initially lifted only in terrorism cases, but the government extended it to all capital crimes earlier this week.