Asia

Pakistan executes Musharraf death-plot convict

Pervez Musharraf addresses a youth parliament in Karachi on December 4 Image copyright AFP

The Pakistani authorities have hanged a man convicted of attempting to kill former President Pervez Musharraf.

Niaz Mohammad, a former air force technician, was executed in the city of Peshawar.

He is the seventh person put to death since Pakistan lifted a moratorium on capital punishment.

Officials said 500 people would be executed "initially" after 141 people, mostly children, were killed by the Taliban at a school in Peshawar.

Reports say police and army personnel were deployed in and around the prison where the execution took place and the road to it was closed to traffic.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Niaz Mohammad was executed at Peshawar's central jail

Niaz Mohammad, who was 40, was one of six air force personnel convicted in 2005 of involvement in an attempted attack on Mr Musharraf's motorcade on 14 December 2003.

One received a life sentence while the others were sentenced to death.

An army officer was tried under a separate court martial and sentenced to death.

Of the six other men executed this month after the six-year moratorium was lifted, five had also been convicted of plotting to kill General Musharraf but in a separate incident 11 days later.

Thousands on death row

The Taliban attack on the Peshawar school two weeks ago caused outrage across the country.

But the United Nations and the European Union have criticised the resumption of executions and urged Islamabad to reinstate the moratorium.

Human rights groups say there are at least 8,000 people on death row, many of them for crimes not connected with militancy.

Meanwhile the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, says there are plans to establish special military courts "to deal with terrorists".

An official communique quoted him as saying these would deal only with "hardcore terrorists responsible for mass murder of innocent civilians, children and [soldiers] of law enforcement agencies".

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