Noor Mukaddam’s murder once again sparks debate over capital punishment
LAHORE: The brutal murder Noor Mukaddam, a former diplomat’s daughter, has once again sparked debate over the government’s undeclared moratorium on capital punishment as per the Constitution.
On July 20, the 27-year-old Noor – the youngest daughter of ex-Pakistani diplomat Shaukat Ali Mukaddam -was allegedly tortured and beheaded by Zahir Zakir Jaffer, son of a business tycoon.
The suspect was later arrested on charges of murder after allegedly holding Noor captive for three days at his apartment in an upmarket area of Islamabad.
Talking to Bol News, senior legal expert and former vice chairman Pakistan Bar Council Abid Saqi was of the opinion that death penalty existed under Pakistani laws and the same should be implemented.
“Pakistani laws are very clear about capital punishment. Qisas and Diyat Ordinance has become part and parcel of Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) which deals with death penalty,” said Saqi while noting that implementation of death penalty can create deterrence against heinous crimes, including murder and rape.
According to jail authorities, over 3,500 death row prisoners are languishing in various jails across Pakistan on charges of heinous crimes. Among these, around 250 condemned prisoners are in the jails of Punjab where the last execution of a death row prisoner was carried out in November 2019.
According to Amnesty International report, 14 condemned prisoners were executed in 2019 in Pakistan. But since then, the PTI-led federal government has adopted an undeclared moratorium on the execution of death penalty in the country.
Reportedly, Federal Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem, while speaking at World Day against the Death Penalty, said that not a single death row prisoner was executed in Pakistan during 2020.
It is worth mentioning that there are 27 offences in Pakistan legally punishable by death. These include murder, murder in the course of a robbery, waging war, or abetting war against the state, abetting, kidnapping for ransom, robbery, hijacking, zina and rape, blasphemy, smuggling of drugs, arms trading and sabotage of the railway system.
In 2008, Pakistan People’s Party, during its tenure, had adopted a de facto moratorium on civilian hangings despite opposition from various state institutions. Only one death row prisoner was executed in November 2012.
Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) and Special Representative on the Religious Harmony and the Middle East Affairs Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi told Bol News that death penalty should be implemented in letter and spirit in Pakistan to deal with brutal incidents in which women were being murdered and beheaded.
The PUC chairman Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi further said that every criminal should be punished for his crimes with the sentence mentioned in the law.
“Our religion and our Constitution [of 1973] is very clear regarding death penalty. We just need its strict implementation to deal with brutal crimes,” Ashrafi stressed.
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