Pakistan overuses its anti-terror laws and courts to prosecute ordinary crimes

Naiaz Mohammad, 40, was executed today in Pakistan, for attempting to assassinate former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf. A crime he allegedly committed eleven years ago!

His body was handed over to the relatives after the execution by hanging.

The attack which took place in December 2003, involved a powerful explosion that targeted the former president's motorcade as it was passing over a bridge in Rawalpindi.

The motorcade escaped the explosion by a matter of seconds and no one was injured.

Pakistan earlier this month lifted a six-year moratorium on the death penalty in terror cases, a decision that came amid public outrage over a Taliban massacre at a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar which killed 150 people, including 134 children.

Of the seven cases of executions carried out so far in the country, six were involved in the failed attempt to assassinate Musharraf in Rawalpindi in 2003, while one was involved in a 2009 attack on the army headquarters. Presently, Pakistan officials have said they plan to hang 500 convicts in the coming weeks, which has attracted protest from international human rights campaigners.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also announced the establishment of military courts for terror-related cases in order to accelerate trials, describing them as "an extraordinary solution to an extraordinary problem."

Despite the moratorium, which began in 2008, courts continued to issue death sentences and Amnesty International estimates there are around 8,000 people on death row in Pakistan.

The United Nations, European Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called on Pakistan to re-impose its moratorium on the death penalty.

Rights campaigners say Pakistan overuses its anti-terror laws and courts to prosecute ordinary crimes.

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