The Pakistani government hanged nine more convicts on Wednesday, after executing 12 the previous day (17 March) in jails around the country.
This has brought the total number of executions to 48, since the moratorium on capital punishment was lifted in December, after the deadly terror attack on an army school in Peshawar.
According to Reuters, the interior ministry of the country did not reveal the total number of planned executions. The agency quoted a spokesperson as saying: "The ministry does not have consolidated data after the lifting of the moratorium as new cases include all types, including terrorism."
Meanwhile, activists have raised questions over the capital punishment awarded to some convicts. As death sentence cannot be used against a defendant under 18 years of age and confessions to crimes obtained under torture are inadmissible, lawyers of a convict Shafqat Hussain, have alleged that after being tortured for days on end, Hussain admitted to the crime and was handed the capital punishment.
"He was burnt by cigarettes, subjected to electric shocks. Police kept a 14-year-old boy in custody for four months and 14 days (before extracting a statement). No one can imagine what he must have gone through. And we are going through this ordeal because we are poor. If Shafqat had a name like Sharif or Zardari, he would be roaming freely," said his brother Manzoor Hussain.
In 2004, Shafqat was arrested for allegedly killing a child, he was 14 years old then, and was handed the death sentence. He is due to be hanged on Thursday.
Niece of the assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto is taking up Shafqat's case. Fatima Bhutto told the New York Times on the lifting of the moratorium on death sentence: "There was no moment of reflection, no introspection, only a knee-jerk call for vengeance... In Pakistan, blood will always have blood."
On the other hand, interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has said that Shafqat's age at the time of his arrest will be probed, but his lawyers say they have not received any word from the ministry.