UN chief Ban Ki-moon urges Pakistan to rescind death penalty
UN chief Ban Ki-moon urges Pakistan to rescind death penalty Reuters

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Pakistan to rescind the death penalty, which was reinstated after the deadly attack on an army school in Peshawar.

Ban appealed to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to withdraw the capital punishment and reimpose the moratorium on executions that was lifted after a six-year gap.

Ban's office said in a statement that the UN chief told the Pakistani premier that "while fully recognising the difficult circumstances" the county is in, he exhorted Islamabad to do away with executions.

The UN statement said: "Ban's appeal follows Pakistan's recent decision to lift a six-year moratorium on the use of the death penalty following the recent terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar which claimed the lives of 145 people, majority of whom were children."

Responding to Ban's plea, Sharif said "all legal norms would be respected".

Islamabad has vowed to execute at least 500 militants in the wake of the Peshawar school attack as the security forces intensify their military campaign against Taliban extremists.

Earlier, Sharif had also announced the setting up of a special army tribunal to try terror suspects.