According to Pakistan’s former federal minister for human rights Ansar Burney, it’s for the first time that Pakistan has taken such a step. The move comes four years after former PM Yousaf Raza Gilani had announced to commute all death sentences into life imprisonment.
Burney told TOI on Sunday over the phone from Khartoum in Sudan, where he is on a humanitarian mission, that Pakistan government has sought advice from relevant ministries and provincial authorities by Monday, August 13.
He said that Ansar Burney Trust International had also filed several petitions with President Asif Ali Zardari requesting that all death sentences be commuted to life imprisonments considering that a large number of those condemned to death were either innocent or had spent decades awaiting death.
Gilani had announced during an address to the national assembly on June 21 2008, soon after assuming office, that his government would take a proposal to the presidency to convert all death penalties into life-terms. Burney informed that over 7,500 prisoners in Pakistani jails were on death row.
“Many are innocent and victims of false testimonies or circumstances like Sarabjit and Kirpal. Hundreds are now physically and mentally disabled due to decades of imprisonment in the harshest conditions,” Burney said.
- Sarabjit Singh stays in prison: Hope Pak looks into contradiction sensitively, says Govt (ndtv.com)
- Lawyer highlights flaws in Sarabjit’s trial (thehindu.com)
- The Sarabjit-Surjeet goof up: One family shocked, another elated (ndtv.com)