The death penalty was abolished in the European Union and other countries after it was realized that there was a danger of innocent men being executed. It had also been observed that the death penalty had no deterrent effect. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, a couple of hundred men are executed every year, yet drug smuggling continues unabated. Many poor Pakistanis are also victims of the dreaded punishment. In the U.K. a man was convicted for killing more than twenty people, yet he was not hanged, but sentenced to serve sixty years in prison. Recently, a UK. national, Kenny Richey, was released after spending twenty one years in jail, because there were doubts about his guilt. But once he had been only an hour away from death by lethal injection. He is now a bitter man, as an innocent man should be. So this should make us think of the hundreds of men who are killed every year, despite being innocent.
In Pakistan, it is very common to get a case of murder registered against a rival, particularly if the complainant is powerful and has friends in high places. I know most Pakistanis will not agree, but why not do away with the death penalty? The feudals, of course, will never agree, and neither will the religious lobby, who never hesitate to register cases of blasphemy whenever their interests are threatened. But I do think the time has come for our intellectuals to consider this issue seriously, and urge the government to abolish capital punishment.