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Pakistan executes 4 more terrorists on death-row

By M Zulqernain
December 21, 2014 19:37 IST
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Four more death-row convicts were executed on Sunday in Pakistan for their involvement in an attack on former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf after the country lifted a ban on the death penalty following last week's deadly Taliban attack on a Peshawar school.

Zubair Ahmed, Rasheed Qureshi, Ghulam Sarwar Bhatti and Russian citizen Akhlaque Ahmed were hanged at the district jail in Faisalabad in Punjab province, two days after two prisoners were hanged in the same jail.

The four death-row prisoners were shifted to the district jail under the security of army personnel because the lever used to open the trapdoor to carryout hangings was not available in the central jail in Faisalabad.

Family members of the prisoners were allowed to meet the convicts for the last time prior to the hanging. Security was tightened in the city to avoid any untoward incident.

additional contingents of security personnel were deployed while containers and barricades were placed on the routes leading to the district jail.

Preparations were also underway in Lahore for the execution of four death row prisoners in Kot Lakhpat Central Jail. The executions are expected to be carried out within the next 24-36 hours. All routes leading to the jail were sealed with the deployment of military personnel and installation of cell phone jammers around the jail premises.

In Sukkur, authorities called in the relatives of two terrorists, belonging to the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi who had been sentenced to death 10 years ago in a sectarian killing case, to hold a final meeting on Monday.

An anti-terrorism court on Friday had issued death warrants for Attaullah alias Qasim and Mohammad Azam alias Sharif, who had been sentenced to death for a sectarian killing in 2001.

Both terrorists were arrested from Karachi and are to be executed on Tuesday. Earlier on Friday, two former military men were executed in the Faisalabad district jail. Usman, a former soldier of the army's medical corps, was executed for an attack on army headquarters in Rawalpindi in 2009.

Arshad Mehmood, a trooper, was also hanged and was among five convicts who were sentenced to death for their role in an Al Qaeda-inspired assassination attempt on Musharraf's life in late 2003.

The hangings on Friday were the first death sentences carried out after the government ended a six-year moratorium on executions on Wednesday, in response to the suicide attack on a Peshawar army school that killed 148 people, mostly children.

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M Zulqernain in Lahore