Pakistan has overtaken Saudi Arabia in the number of executions

Pakistan has overtaken Saudi Arabia in the number of executions as more than 300 people have been put to death in 2015 alone with another 8,000 prisoners on death row.

Pakistan had lifted a moratorium on executions last December in response to a deadly Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar that killed more than 150 children. The death penalty was initially reserved for terror convicts but was extended to all capital crimes in March 2015. The executions reached its peak in October 2015 when 47 convicts were hanged to death.

The dramatic rise in executions has left behind Saudi Arabia which executed 151 people till November 2015, highest since 1995. Pakistan now ranks No. 3 in 2015, after China and Iran for executing people.

According to Amnesty International, Pakistan has more than 8,000 prisoners on death row, most of whom have exhausted the appeals process.

Supporters of the capital punishment in Pakistan claim that it is the only effective way to the deal with the rise of terrorist groups in the country. However, critics say that fewer than one in six death penalties were linked to militancy.

Maya Pastakia, a Pakistan campaigner for Amnesty International said:

The government is touting executions as the way of tackling the country’s law and order problems. But there is no compelling evidence that the death penalty will act as particular deterrent over and above any other form of punishment. A suicide bomber won’t be deterred by the death penalty. Often the accused in the initial stages will be given a state appointed lawyer who is often poorly trained and lacks competence.

As per Pakistani law, 27 crimes carry the death sentence in Pakistan, including terrorism, rape, adultery and blasphemy.