Pakistan PM lifts moratorium on death penalty after school attack

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Pakistan PM lifts moratorium on death penalty after school attack
KARACHI, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 16: A boy from Pakistani political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) prays as he attends a candle vigil in Karachi, Pakistan, on December 16, 2014 in memory of the victims of the Taliban assault on an army-run school in the north western city of Peshawar. Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on Tuesday has left at least 141 people dead, most of whom students. (Photo by Qaisar Khan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Indian schoolchildren pray during an assembly at their school in New Delhi on December 17, 2014, as they pay tribute to slain Pakistani schoolchildren and staff after an attack on an army-run school in the restive city of Peshawar. Pakistan began three days of mourning on December 17 for the 132 schoolchildren and nine staff killed by the Taliban in the country's deadliest ever terror attack as the world united in a chorus of revulsion. The 141 people were killed when insurgents stormed an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar and systematically went from room to room shooting children during an eight-hour killing spree. AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD HUSSAIN (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian schoolchildren prepare lighted candles ahead of a vigil in the northern city of Jalandhar late December 16, 2014, as they pay tribute to slain Pakistani schoolchildren and staff after an attack on an army school in the restive city of Peshawar. Pakistan began three days of mourning on December 17, for the 132 schoolchildren and nine staff killed by the Taliban in the country's deadliest ever terror attack as the world united in a chorus of revulsion. The 141 people were killed when insurgents stormed an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Tuesday and systematically went from room to room shooting children during an eight-hour killing spree. AFP PHOTO/SHAMMI MEHRA (Photo credit should read SHAMMI MEHRA/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian schoolchildren pray at their school in Mumbai on December 17, 2014, in memory of schoolchildren killed during an attack on an army school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar by armed Taliban terrorists. Schools across India have observed a 2 minute silence as called for by prime minister Narendra Modi in memory of those killed in the attacks. AFP PHOTO/INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)
KARACHI, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 16: Children from Pakistani political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) pray as they attend a candle vigil in Karachi, Pakistan, on December 16, 2014 in memory of the victims of the Taliban assault on an army-run school in the north western city of Peshawar. Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on Tuesday has left at least 141 people dead, most of whom students. (Photo by Qaisar Khan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Indian schoolchildren pray during an assembly at their school in New Delhi on December 17, 2014, as they pay tribute to slain Pakistani schoolchildren and staff after an attack on an army-run school in the restive city of Peshawar. Pakistan began three days of mourning on December 17 for the 132 schoolchildren and nine staff killed by the Taliban in the country's deadliest ever terror attack as the world united in a chorus of revulsion. The 141 people were killed when insurgents stormed an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar and systematically went from room to room shooting children during an eight-hour killing spree. AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD HUSSAIN (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)
A teacher walks past a blackboard adorned with a message from Indian schoolchildren at their school in Mumbai on December 17, 2014, in memory of schoolchildren killed during an attack on an army school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar by armed Taliban terrorists. Schools across India have observed a 2 minute silence as called for by prime minister Narendra Modi in memory of those killed in the attacks. AFP PHOTO/INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)
KARACHI, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 16: Members of Pakistani political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) hold candle vigil in Karachi, Pakistan, on December 16, 2014 in memory of the victims of the Taliban assault on an army-run school in the north western city of Peshawar. Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on Tuesday has left at least 141 people dead, most of whom students. (Photo by Qaisar Khan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Pakistani mourners gather around the coffin of a victim of an attack by militants on an army-run school during a funeral ceremony in Peshawar on December 17, 2014. Militants rampaged through an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar and killed at least 141 people, almost all of them children, in the bloodiest ever terror attack in Pakistan. AFP PHOTO / A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani mourners carry the coffin of a victim of an attack by militants on an army-run school during a funeral ceremony in Peshawar on December 17, 2014. Militants rampaged through an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar and killed at least 141 people, almost all of them children, in the bloodiest ever terror attack in Pakistan. AFP PHOTO / A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani mourners carry the coffin of a victim of an attack by militants on an army-run school during a funeral ceremony in Peshawar on December 17, 2014. Militants rampaged through an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar and killed at least 141 people, almost all of them children, in the bloodiest ever terror attack in Pakistan. AFP PHOTO / A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian schoolchildren pray during morning assembly at their school in Shimla on December 17, 2014, as they pay tribute to slain Pakistani schoolchildren and staff after an attack on an army school in the restive city of Peshawar. Pakistan began three days of mourning on December 17, for the 132 schoolchildren and nine staff killed by the Taliban in the country's deadliest ever terror attack as the world united in a chorus of revulsion. The 141 people were killed when insurgents stormed an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar and systematically went from room to room shooting children during an eight-hour killing spree. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian schoolchildren pray during an assembly at their school in New Delhi on December 17, 2014, as they pay tribute to slain Pakistani schoolchildren and staff after an attack on an army-run school in the restive city of Peshawar. Pakistan began three days of mourning on December 17 for the 132 schoolchildren and nine staff killed by the Taliban in the country's deadliest ever terror attack as the world united in a chorus of revulsion. The 141 people were killed when insurgents stormed an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar and systematically went from room to room shooting children during an eight-hour killing spree. AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD HUSSAIN (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian schoolchildren pray during an assembly at their school in New Delhi on December 17, 2014, as they pay tribute to slain Pakistani schoolchildren and staff after an attack on an army-run school in the restive city of Peshawar. Pakistan began three days of mourning on December 17 for the 132 schoolchildren and nine staff killed by the Taliban in the country's deadliest ever terror attack as the world united in a chorus of revulsion. The 141 people were killed when insurgents stormed an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar and systematically went from room to room shooting children during an eight-hour killing spree. AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD HUSSAIN (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani mourners carry the coffin of a victim of an attack by militants on an army-run school during a funeral ceremony in Peshawar on December 17, 2014. Militants rampaged through an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar and killed at least 141 people, almost all of them children, in the bloodiest ever terror attack in Pakistan. AFP PHOTO / A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
A Pakistani resident reads the front pages of a selection of the country's main newspapers reporting a militant attack on an army-run school in Karachi on December 17, 2014. Militants rampaged through an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar and killed at least 141 people, almost all of them children, in the bloodiest ever terror attack in Pakistan. AFP PHOTO / Rizwan TABASSUM (Photo credit should read RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images)
A Pakistani resident reads the front pages of a selection of the country's main newspapers reporting a militant attack on an army-run school in Karachi on December 17, 2014. Militants rampaged through an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar and killed at least 141 people, almost all of them children, in the bloodiest ever terror attack in Pakistan. AFP PHOTO / Rizwan TABASSUM (Photo credit should read RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images)
A Pakistani resident reads the front pages of a selection of the country's main newspapers reporting a militant attack on an army-run school in Karachi on December 17, 2014. Militants rampaged through an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar and killed at least 141 people, almost all of them children, in the bloodiest ever terror attack in Pakistan. AFP PHOTO / Rizwan TABASSUM (Photo credit should read RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani army soldiers patrol in Peshawar on December 17, 2014, the day after an attack on an army school in the northern city. Pakistan has begun three days of mourning for the 132 schoolchildren and nine staff killed by the Taliban in the country's deadliest ever terror attack as the world united in a chorus of revulsion. The 141 people were killed when insurgents stormed an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Tuesday and systematically went from room to room shooting children during an eight-hour killing spree. AFP PHOTO / Farooq NAEEM (Photo credit should read FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian schoolchildren pray at their school in Mumbai on December 17, 2014, in memory of schoolchildren killed during an attack on an army school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar by armed Taliban terrorists. Schools across India have observed a 2 minute silence as called for by prime minister Narendra Modi in memory of those killed in the attacks. AFP PHOTO/INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani army soldiers use metal detectors to clear the area at an army run school a day after it was attacked by militants in Peshawar on December 17, 2014. Militants rampaged through an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar and killed at least 141 people, almost all of them children, in the bloodiest ever terror attack in Pakistan. AFP PHOTO / Farooq NAEEM (Photo credit should read FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian schoolchildren pray at their school in Mumbai on December 17, 2014, in memory of schoolchildren killed during an attack on an army school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar by armed Taliban terrorists. Schools across India have observed a 2 minute silence as called for by prime minister Narendra Modi in memory of those killed in the attacks. AFP PHOTO/INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)
KARACHI, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 16: Members of Pakistani political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) hold candle vigil in Karachi, Pakistan, on December 16, 2014 in memory of the victims of the Taliban assault on an army-run school in the north western city of Peshawar. Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on Tuesday has left at least 141 people dead, most of whom students. (Photo by Qaisar Khan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
The Taliban in Pakistan claimed responsibility for attacking a military-run public school. Dozens were killed and dozens more injured.
Pakistani mourners pray over the coffin of a student following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. Taliban insurgents stormed an army-run school in Pakistan, killing at least 141 people, almost all of them children, in Pakistan's bloodiest ever terror attack. Survivors described how the militants went from room to room shooting children as young as 12 during the eight-hour onslaught at the Army Public School in the northwestern city of Peshawar. AFP PHOTO/ HASHAM AHMED (Photo credit should read HASHAM AHMED/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani mourners attend the funeral of a victim following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. Taliban insurgents stormed an army-run school in Pakistan, killing at least 141 people, almost all of them children, in Pakistan's bloodiest ever terror attack. Survivors described how the militants went from room to room shooting children as young as 12 during the eight-hour onslaught at the Army Public School in the northwestern city of Peshawar. AFP PHOTO/ HASHAM AHMED (Photo credit should read HASHAM AHMED/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani female activists of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) light candles for the victims of an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar, in Karachi on December 16, 2014. Taliban insurgents killed at least 141 people, almost all of them children, after storming an army-run school in Pakistan's bloodiest ever terror attack. AFP PHOTO / Rizwan TABASSUM (Photo credit should read RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images)
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 16: A Pakistani student injured when Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, is carried to the hospital in the northwestern city of Peshawar, Pakistan, on December 16, 2014. Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on Tuesday has left at least 130 people dead, most of them students. (Photo by Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Pakistani Muslims carry the coffin of a victim of a school attack during a funeral procession in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. Taliban insurgents stormed an army-run school in Pakistan, killing at least 141 people, almost all of them children, in Pakistan's bloodiest ever terror attack. AFP PHOTO / HASHAM AHMED (Photo credit should read HASHAM AHMED/AFP/Getty Images)
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 16: Pakistani soldiers take position near the site of an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar, Pakistan, on December 16, 2014. Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on Tuesday has left at least 100 people dead, most of them students. (Photo by Khan Raziq/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 16: Pakistani soldier takes position near the site of an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar, Pakistan, on December 16, 2014. Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on Tuesday has left at least 100 people dead, most of them students. (Photo by Khan Raziq/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 16: Pakistani soldiers shift bodies of the victims who were killed when Taliban gunmen attacked an Army run school, in Peshawar, Pakistan on December 16, 2014. Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on Tuesday has left more than 100 people dead. (Photo by Khan Raziq/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 16: Pakistanis carry the coffin of a student killed when Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, in Peshawar, Pakistan, on December 16, 2014. Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on Tuesday has left more than 100 people dead. (Photo by Khan Raziq/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
An injured Pakistani student lies in bed at a hospital following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. Taliban insurgents killed at least 130 people, most of them children, after storming an army-run school in Pakistan December 16 in one of the country's bloodiest attacks in recent years. AFP PHOTO/ A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani men help an injured student to a hospital following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. Taliban insurgents killed at least 130 people, most of them children, after storming an army-run school in Pakistan December 16 in one of the country's bloodiest attacks in recent years. AFP PHOTO/ A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 16: Pakistani soldier takes position near the site of an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar, Pakistan, on December 16, 2014. Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on Tuesday has left at least 100 people dead, most of them students. (Photo by Khan Raziq/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 16: Pakistani soldiers take position near the site of an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar, Pakistan, on December 16, 2014. Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on Tuesday has left at least 100 people dead, most of them students. (Photo by Khan Raziq/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 16: A view of the entrance of school attacked by Taliban gunmen in the northwestern city of Peshawar, Pakistan, on December 16, 2014. Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on Tuesday has left at least 100 people dead, most of them students. (Photo by Khan Raziq/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 16: Pakistani soldiers stand guard near the site of an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar, Pakistan, on December 16, 2014. Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on Tuesday has left at least 100 people dead, most of them students. (Photo by Khan Raziq/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Pakistani parents react near the site of an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. At least 130 people were killed in a Taliban attack on an army-run school in northwest Pakistan, officials said. AFP PHOTO/ A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani men carry an injured student to a hospital following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. At least 130 people were killed in a Taliban attack on an army-run school in northwest Pakistan, officials said. AFP PHOTO/ A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
This screengrab taken from AFP footage shows a child (lower) receiving treatment at a hospital following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. A Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on December 16 has left more than 100 people dead, most of them students, officials said. AFP PHOTO / Aftab Ahmed (Photo credit should read Aftab Ahmed/AFP/Getty Images)
This screengrab taken from AFP footage shows a child reacting at a hospital following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. A Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on December 16 has left more than 100 people dead, most of them students, officials said. AFP PHOTO / Aftab Ahmed (Photo credit should read Aftab Ahmed/AFP/Getty Images)
This screengrab taken from AFP footage shows a child receiving treatment at a hospital following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. A Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on December 16 has left more than 100 people dead, most of them students, officials said. AFP PHOTO / Aftab Ahmed (Photo credit should read Aftab Ahmed/AFP/Getty Images)
This screengrab taken from AFP footage shows a man reacting as children receive treatment at a hospital following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. A Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on December 16 has left more than 100 people dead, most of them students, officials said. AFP PHOTO / Aftab Ahmed (Photo credit should read Aftab Ahmed/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani men carry an injured school girl to a hospital following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. At least 130 people were killed in a Taliban attack on an army-run school in northwest Pakistan, officials said. AFP PHOTO/ A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
JUST IN:12 school children killed in terror attack in #Pakistan's Peshawar till now | hundreds taken into hostage http://t.co/iymzvOWtNa
#Taliban storm army-run school in #Pakistan, 20 dead http://t.co/TgMlWe1Gxf http://t.co/J1RD1BFUKR
Fighters attack military-run school in city of #Peshawar in northwest #Pakistan, taking students hostage: officials http://t.co/T1wM2wU34i
17 school kids,one teacher killed in terror attack in army-run school in #Pakistan's Peshawar |hundreds held hostage http://t.co/ziXhyO8rM7
#Peshawar: #Taliban militants storm Pak army-run school; at least 20 children dead http://t.co/doFao4cVUJ http://t.co/3WFebkKpQh
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(Reuters) - The Pakistani prime minister lifted a moratorium on the death penalty on Wednesday, a day after Taliban gunmen attacked a school, killing 132 students and nine teachers, a government spokesman said.

Pakistan began three days of mourning on Wednesday for the 141 people killed in the attack on the school in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

The bloodshed has shocked the nation and put pressure on the government to do more to tackle the Pakistani Taliban insurgency. Many people have called in the media for the death penalty to be restored.

"It was decided that this moratorium should be lifted. The prime minister approved," said government spokesman Mohiuddin Wan, referring to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's approval of the decision by a ministerial committee.

"Black warrants will be issued within a day or two," he said, referring to execution orders.

He did not give any details about who might be executed under such orders.

A moratorium on the death penalty was imposed in 2008 and only one execution has taken place since then.

There are believed to be more than 8,000 prisoners on death row in Pakistan, about 10 percent convicted of offences labelled "terrorism", said Justice Project Pakistan, a legal aid group.

"Terrorism" has a very broad definition under Pakistani law. About 17,000 cases of "terrorism" are pending in special courts.

Justice Project Pakistan released a report on Wednesday saying that those convicted of terrorism were often tortured into confessions or denied lawyers, and that recent crackdowns had not stopped militant attacks.

"Swathes of defendants whose crimes bear no relation to terrorism have been sentenced to death following extremely unfair trials – whilst terrorist attacks continue unabated," the group said.

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