326 people were executed by Pakistan in 2015
Pakistan carried out 326 executions in 2015, the highest number ever recorded in the country, Amnesty International reported.
Pakistan ranks among the top five executioners for the first time since 2008.
The human rights watchdog said at least 1,634 people were executed last year, a 54 percent increase from 1,061 in 2014.
The actual figures could be much higher as it does not include executions in China where data on the death penalty is not revealed by the State.
Pakistan followed Saudi Arabia and Iran in global executions, and together the three countries were responsible for nearly 90 percent of total executions, the report said.
According to the report, the number of executions recorded in Saudi Arabia increased by 76 percent to 158, while those in Iran rose 31 percent to 977.
Amnesty said it received information that both Iran and Pakistan in 2015 executed people who were under the age of 18 when the crimes were committed, and it said juveniles face the death sentence in several other countries.
Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director of South Asia Regional Office said, “Over the past year, Pakistan has vaulted to the number three spot for recorded state executions in the world, a shameful position no one should aspire to. Only to be beaten by Iran and Saudi Arabia.”
Patel said Pakistan executed 326 people last year. Most of those executed were not convicted of terror-related offences, and there is evidence that at least two and possibly more of them were juveniles when they committed their alleged crimes.
“The death penalty is always a rights violation, but its use in Pakistan is all the more troubling, given the serious fair trial concerns including insufficient access to lawyers and endemic police torture to extract confessions,” Patel said.
Pakistan lifted the moratorium on civilian executions in December 2014, after a gap of seven years following a terror attack on a school in its north western province of Peshawar. The suspension was initially lifted to punish those who were convicted with terror offences, but the government soon resumed executions for all capital crimes like murder and blasphemy.
Amnesty believes China remains the top executioner. The rights group stopped publishing its estimated figures for China in 2009, challenging the Chinese government to reveal its own figures.
In the US, 28 people were executed in 2015, nearly half in Texas, the most active death penalty state, which put 13 people to death, the report said.