Pakistan is planning to execute around 500 terror convicts in the coming weeks, officials in Islamabad said on Monday, even as the Pakistan government failed to file a plea challenging bail for key plotter of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
The prosecution, which was supposed to challenge Islamabad Anti-Terrorism Court’s (ATC) decision to grant bail to Lakhvi could not do so as it failed to get a copy of the ATC’s order.
“We are facing problems in getting the ATC’s order copy. I cannot say whether we will be able to file the appeal tomorrow as it is subject to getting the court’s order,” prosecution chief Chaudhry Azhar told PTI.
ATC Islamabad Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi had granted bail to Lakhvi on December 18 citing lack of evidence against him, but before he could be released the government detained him for three more months under a public maintenance order in Adiala Jail where the trial is being held.
The decision to grant bail to Lakhvi, 54, drew sharp criticism from India and surprised many for its timing, coming just days after the Taliban massacred 148 people, mostly schoolchildren, in Peshawar. Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif lifted the six-year moratorium on the death penalty soon after the attack and six militants have been hanged since Friday.
“Interior ministry has finalised the cases of 500 convicts who have exhausted all appeals, their mercy petitions have been turned down by the president and their executions will take place in coming weeks,” a senior government official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Of the six hanged so far, five were involved in a failed attempt to assassinate the then-military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2003, while one was involved in a 2009 attack on army headquarters.
Sharif also chaired a high-level meeting on counter-terrorism, which decided to crush rising terrorism in the country with full force.