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Pakistan on high alert before executions

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Coffins are seen at a hospital in northwest Pakistan's Peshawar on Dec. 16, 2014. The death toll of a terror attack on a school in Peshawar of Pakistan's northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Coffins are seen at a hospital in northwest Pakistan's Peshawar on Dec. 16, 2014. The death toll of a terror attack on a school in Peshawar of Pakistan's northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Coffins are seen at a hospital in northwest Pakistan’s Peshawar on Dec. 16, 2014. The death toll of a terror attack on a school in Peshawar of Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

All prisons across Pakistan went on high alert, with officials preparing to start executing prisoners jailed for terrorist crimes from dawn Saturday.

Six of the seven who will face the gallows in Faislabad and two jails in Lahore have been convicted for attempting to assassinate then president and army chief Pervez Musharraf, Geo TV reported citing jail sources.

The seventh to hang Saturday is also in Faisalabad.

The decision to do away with prisoners condemned for terrorist offences was taken by the Pakistan government after terrorists gunned down more than 140 students and teachers in an army-run school in Peshawar Tuesday.

Hardened terrorist Arshad Mehmood, who was convicted for the assassination attempt on Musharraf, will reportedly be executed in Faisalabad around 4 a.m. Saturday.

Two jails in Lahore will execute five other terrorists — Kamran Khan, Ahsaan Nadeem, Zahid, Zubair Ahmad and Ghulam Sarwar — who were also convicted for the assassination attempt on the former President.

The seventh convict, Aqeel Ahmad alias Doctor Usman, a former soldier of the Pakistan army’s medical corps and the mastermind of the attack on the Army headquarters in 2009, will also be hanged Saturday in Faisalabad.

While lifting the moratorium on the death penalty, the federal government has asked all the four provincial governments to process the cases of those on death row so that their death warrants or black warrants could be issued on a priority basis.

The cases of dreaded terrorists would be processed on a priority basis. The moratorium on death sentence was invoked in 2008 by the Asif Zardari-led Pakistan Peoples Party government under tremendous pressure from the international community.

Meanwhile, security has also been tightened up in Karachi at consulate buildings and jails ahead of the execution of convicts scheduled to start from Saturday .

Paramilitary personnel, equipped with light machine guns and other modern weapons, have been put on high alert and they have been directed to shoot the accused in any untoward situation, Ahmed Jamal, district officer of the Frontier Corps, said.

Heavy contingents of special commandos, working in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), have been deployed at Central Jail in Karachi, and at Malir and in Sukkur jails for security.

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