Islamabad: A total of 332 militants and criminals have been executed in Pakistan after the troubled nation lifted a six-year moratorium on death penalties following the ghastly attack on school children in Peshawar on December 16, 2014, by the Taliban.
This is also the first-ever official tally released by Pakistan on the number of executions carried out.
Following the Peshawar attack that left over 150 people dead – most of them being children – at an Army-run school, Islamabad unveiled a comprehensive National Action Plan (NAP) to curb militancy.
It was in accordance with this NAP that the six-year moratorium on the country's death penalty was lifted and the Constitution amended to allow military courts to try those accused of carrying out attacks.
Hangings were initially reinstated only for those convicted of terrorism. However, in March 2015, executions were extended to all capital offences.
In a written reply submitted to Parliament on Friday, Pakistan's Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control said 332 people had been executed in the country.
Supporters of capital punishment argue that executions are the only effective way to deal with the scourge of militancy in Pakistan. However, critics believe that the legal system is unjust, with rampant police torture and poor representation for victims during trials. A majority of those who are hanged are not convicted of terror charges, they claim.
Figures rolled out by Amnesty International suggest that Pakistan is on track to become one of the world's top executioners in 2015.
According to the report submitted to Parliament, 172 madrassas across the country have also been closed on suspicions of having links to militant organisations. “993 URLs and 10 websites of organizations have been blocked,” it added.
The dossier further said that 98.3 million unregistered SIM cards have been blocked.
More than 2,000 cases of hate speech have also been registered, while 2,195 people have been arrested. More than 70 shops have been shuttered throughout Pakistan for selling material deemed to promote hate speech.
Since 2013, paramilitary troops and police have been engaged in an anti-militant and crime operation in Karachi, the report says. Thousands of criminals have been arrested in the operation's wake along with 890 militants in the city. Officials say militant attacks have fallen by 80 per cent as a result, according to the report.