KARACHI: The Chairman of Ansar Burney Trust International and former Federal Minister for human rights, Ansar Burney, Advocate on humanitarian grounds and in the greater interest of Justice and human dignity once again sent fresh Mercy Petitions to President and Prime Minister of Pakistan to save necks from Gallows of more than 8500 prisoners facing Death Sentence in Pakistan, as majority of them are innocent or prisoners of circumstances.
Ansar Burney mentioned in his letters to President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif that Pakistan is the signatory of UN charter and mandate against death sentence. The United Nations former Expert Advisor on human rights Ansar Burney, Advocate demanded that Pakistani government should immediately convert all hangings into life imprisonment or order for retrial, as majority of condemned prisoners in the death cells waiting to be hanged are either innocent or prisoners of circumstances.
Ansar Burney in his fresh appeals sent to Government informed them that despite the fact that up to 60 to 65% of all condemned prisoners in Pakistan were most likely innocent or victims of a faulty justice system, the Government had failed to take any positive action to save these thousands of innocent lives.
International Ambassador for Peace and human rights, Ansar Burney said that unfortunately many among them have already spent more than two to three decades in worst living conditions in prison’s death cells and that prolonged detention in worst and inhuman circumstances on death row is at the very least cruel treatment and worst kind of human rights violations. He said Pakistan voted against a United Nation General Assembly resolution for a moratorium on the death penalty in December 2007.
He said Pakistan ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in April 2010, which was signed by the President of Pakistan. While these steps are welcome, the Ansar Burney Trust believes that it is imperative for the government to also take immediate steps to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.
Ansar Burney wrote that the former Prime Minister and former Ministers on different occasions, always falsely promised since June 21, 2008 to commute death sentences, but no action has so far been taken in this regard.
Ansar Burney, said that even several promises no progress had been made, just false promises by the former Prime Minister and his former cabinet as they did the same in so many other human rights cases.
Ansar Burney a name in Pakistan that made a history in the field of human rights and got released more than Nine hundred thousand 900,000 illegally and unlawfully detained, confined and condemned prisoners from all over the world especially from Asian and Middle Eastern countries has said that the Government seemed to have completely backtracked on its announcement after pressure from extremist religious groups. “Where is it in Islam to hang innocents or prisoners of circumstances or those sentenced only because of false witnesses” Mr. Burney asked.
Ansar Burney said he is very much aware that 35 to 40 present death sentence prisoners are criminals even some hardened criminals and terrorists but only because of them how Ansar Burney Trust can allow government to hang majority of innocents
Ansar Burney stated that of the 8,500 + including women and children condemned prisoners in Pakistani jails, the majority were either innocent or victims of a faulty justice system.
He said that he himself met condemned prisoners in jails awaiting their death sentence who did not even know who they had been charged of killing. Many had their appeals rejected for reasons out of their control and the Courts in Pakistan had completely failed to provide them with Justice.
Ansar Burney said that in jails across Pakistan, there were condemned prisoners who had spent over two to three life sentence in death cells, there were those who had become crippled or mentally disabled due to the cruel and inhumane treatment in which they had been placed by the state and there were prisoners who had crossed the age of 90.
Burney said that despite these facts, the Courts or the Government had completely failed to resolve this issue and provide these prisoners with relief. According to Ansar Burney Trust, there were also over 40 women and 2 children lodged in death cells in Pakistan and waiting to be hanged.
Burney said that these facts were clearly visible to the Government yet after it’s much praised announcement, it had failed to deliver on its promise due to political reasons completely ignoring the fact that to hang such persons would not be capital punishment but murder by the state.
In this regard Ansar Burney made a question with President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif that how any government can hang; those who are in death cells waiting to be hanged from one, two and in some cases three decades or even completed their life sentences in the death cells or those who became crippled or mentally ill in death cells only because of injustices
For that reason, Ansar Burney once again demanded from the Government to halt all hangings in the country and immediately take steps to ensure the prevalence of Justice – and demanded that the Government give priority to morality and ethics and not political gains and losses.
Ansar Burney in his letters on Thursday once again said that some of these prisoners are in Death Cells Facing Death Sentences since last One, Two even in some cases since last Three decades. Some of them become crippled, handicapped, mentally ill, diagnosed Tuberculosis TB, HIV and other serious illness, some become nearly of 100 years of age.
Ansar Burney said now any hanging will be mount to be a ‘Judicial Murder’ by present Government as earlier Judiciary failed to provide justice to most of the innocent poor prisoners facing death sentence since decades.
Ansar Burney Trust International has clearly mentioned that it has NO sympathy whatsoever with hardened criminals, killers of humanity, rapists and Terrorists. “I have sympathy with innocents and I want to save humanity to please my conscious as human rights worker and to please creator of this world.