Thursday, January 8, 2015

Does Death Penalty Help?


Though the likelihood of executing an innocent person is too strong to be ignored, yet the death penalty saves lives of potential victims in future. In other words, there is taking of certain risks in exchange for safety. The opponents of death sentence claim lots of innocent people are wrongly executed because of the flawed methodology employed for evidence gathering by the investigators.
In fact, the resulted delaying tactics involve a number of loopholes that are disguisedly advantageous for the offenders who manage to walk away free. The delayed justice is no justice as it is caused by the obsolete/age old procedure in the judicial system. Hence, there is a state of compromised merit system leading to lack of transparency.
Unless the executive/ the judicial administrators take extra precautions, the innocent people and their rights would continue to remain unprotected. And, in some case, the chronic condition tends to cost their lives of innocent people needlessly.
Furthermore, there are those who argue that the capital punishment amounts to brutalizing; some label the penalty as “legalized murder.”
Nevertheless, there is certain benefit of having deterred the potential offenders or repeat criminals through death penalty, thus it’s absolutely essential to protect the society.
Legally speaking, capital punishment is still part of the law, which means that as long as parliament does not amend the law, Pakistan is under no obligation to “not to carry out sentences” awarded under it.
Maybe, Pakistan is liable as a signatory to the international conventions, but is under no obligation or pressure to not executing those who have been tried and found guilty.
Admittedly, there are certain economic benefits of extremely high value, as the GSP Plus status was given by the European Union to Pakistan.
The problem is if the moratorium is not lifted, the terrorism can’t be dealt with effectively. In other words, there is more benefit in going ahead with hanging the terrorists along with their abettors and facilitators.
It’s about time for executing those who have been awarded the death penalty after they have been heard at all levels, right from the trial court to the superior courts, and they have also gone ahead unsuccessfully with appeals exhausting review petitions as well. After their sentences are confirmed through a prescribed sequence of events, there isn’t much left to save them from getting hanged.
The question arises for protection for the innocent: The Fair Trial Act and the Protection of Pakistan Act will actually protect innocent people from prosecution. The Fair Trial Act provides the state the opportunity to identify actual suspects: people against whom evidence is collected through surveillance that is considerably accurate. Yet again, it all depends on the lines on which a thorough investigation has been carried out to collect genuine intelligence permissible as evidence in the court.
Religiously speaking: The Quran regarding the death penalty clearly states,"...Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law. Thus does He command you, so that you may learn wisdom" (6:151). Therefore, the death penalty (capital punishment) is a reasonable option to save potential victims’ lives.
Furthermore, with regard to legality of capital punishment, Pakistan is ranked fifth after the People’s Republic of China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States. The fact is European Union has no problem with it, so it continues to do business with Iran, Saudi Arabia, China and USA.
Actually, “Human Rights Watch” opposes the death penalty in all circumstances because of its inherent cruelty. Pakistan’s use of the death penalty is inconsistent with international human rights law, according to statements of United Nations human rights experts and various UN bodies.
Human rights law upholds every human being’s inherent right to life; it limits the death penalty to those serious crimes that result in death. In Pakistan’s case, terrorists’ activity has killed many thousands which is very serious matter indeed. Killing innocent children by the barbaric terrorists is highly intolerable.
There was an expired moratorium which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government did not extend, however, a ban on executions of over 8000 convicts awaiting execution was maintained. Nevertheless, the lifting of the moratorium in the death penalty has angered the European Union (EU); the demand of immediate restoration of moratorium has also angered Pakistanis.
Despite the immediate demand for restoring the moratorium; Pakistan will not restore the moratorium after what had happened in Peshawar.
Obviously, the EU fails to take into consideration Pakistan’s number one foe which is terrorism; rather it should offer a helping hand to facilitate the elimination of bad guys.
Death penalty may not be the best deterrence against the suicide attackers because they lose their lives right away, yet it would definitely scare their abettors and financiers.
War on terror will receive a real blow once the execution of the convicted terrorists is allowed to continue uninterrupted all the way till its logical ending.
Hopefully, the long awaited normalcy will return followed by economic national betterment. Then the EU may advocate for the humanitarianism as much as it wants.
Currently, the jailed convicts awaiting executions are being held due to appeal-scenario; many have been enjoying because of the moratorium on death penalty.
There is a lot of talk about “military courts;” this development is against the spirit of democracy. Under the ongoing negative circumstances, non military courts/anti terrorism courts have not been fully successful in providing quicker justice, therefore the dream of rooting out terrorism never really came true.
Since the terrorists cannot be permitted to be roaming free among the vulnerable populace, they need to be nabbed to be put to death within a reasonable time frame in the best interest of the entire nation.
Political parties have already developed consensus to setup military courts for the period of two years. The house is also expected to approve a bill to amend the Pakistan Army Act.
With the recent passage of Constitutional Twenty-first Amendment Bill to provide a constitutional cover to military courts, the scenario will be a different one.
Let’s wait for the dust to settle in favour of perpetual peace.


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