Pakistan is set to execute a disabled man as activists said it was nearing its 300th hanging in under a year, with Amnesty slamming Islamabad Tuesday for “shamefully sealing its place among the world’s worst executioners”.
The execution of Abdul Basit, a paraplegic who was convicted of murder in 2009, has already been postponed several times after rights groups raised concerns about how a wheelchair-bound man would mount the scaffold.
Amnesty said it has been scheduled again for Wednesday.
Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission said in a statement it had written to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif seeking to stay the execution, adding that prison authorities were still awaiting an answer from the government on how to proceed with the hanging.
In a statement Tuesday, Amnesty said it has recorded 299 executions in Pakistan since the death penalty was controversially reinstated following a Taliban mass killing at a school in Peshawar last year that was the country’s deadliest ever extremist attack.
Forty-five people were executed in October alone, Amnesty said, making it the deadliest month since the moratorium was lifted.
No official figures are available. The rights group Reprieve told AFP Tuesday that by its tally the number of executions has just passed 300, while other local activists said the figure was below 260.
“Pakistan’s ongoing zeal for executions is an affront to human rights and the global trend against the death penalty,” David Griffiths, the group’s South Asia research director, said in the statement.
“Even if the authorities stay the execution of Abdul Basit, a man with paraplegia, Pakistan is still executing people at a rate of almost one a day.”
There was no evidence the “relentless” executions have done anything to counter extremism in the country, he added.
The rights group also alleged that many of the executions come after court proceedings that “do not meet international fair trial standards”.