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Pakistan government drops plans to reinstate death penalty

The government of Pakistan [official website] decided on Thursday not to reinstate the death penalty. There had been a moratorium on the death penalty since 2008, but the ban ended on June 30. More than 8,000 prisoners are on death row, and two militants were scheduled to be executed [Reuters report] in August. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif [BBC profile] had planned to reinstate the death penalty [Death Penalty Worldwide backgrounder] in an attempt to crack down on militants and criminals, but the plan had been widely criticized by the international community [HRW press release]. The Taliban had declared that any execution of militants would be seen as an act of war.

Terrorism has been an ongoing problem in Pakistan. Last month Sharif stated that Pakistan's anti-terrorism laws will be amended [JURIST report] to more effectively combat the threat of terrorism. The statements came after increased violence in the city of Karachi. Sharif presided over security meetings discussing how to improve Pakistan's approach to terrorism [IANS report].

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