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A year on from Peshawar, Pakistan sends more convicts to the gallows

Pakistan has hanged eight convicted murderers in jails across the country. Executions come a day ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Peshawar school attack, which prompted Islamabad to reinstate the death penalty.

A moratorium on executions was lifted last year by Pakistan after

Taliban gunmen killed more than 150 people, most of them children, at an army-run school

in the northwest on December 16, 2014.

The latest round of executions took place Tuesday in various locations in Punjab province, with eight convicted murderers sent to the prison gallows.

"Two convicts on death row were hanged in Multan, two each in Bahawalpur and Gujrat and one each in Attock and Dera Ghazi Khan," Chaudhry Arshad Saeed, a senior prison official in Punjab, told the AFP news agency.

Pakistan has not released figures on the number of executions carried out since the six-year moratorium was lifted. But rights activists put the number at 310 since March.

Taliban atrocity spurs return of hanging

Symbolbild Taliban-Angriff in Pakistan Todesstrafe für Schulmassaker

The killing of nearly 150 people, mostly pupils, outraged the nation, allowing government to bring back the gallows.

Germany,

the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called on Pakistan to cease executing prisoners.

Islamabad argues the state killings are necessary to deter militancy in the country. But rights groups say 90 percent of those executed were

convicted of common crimes and not tied to militant groups.

For decades more than 7,000 death row prisoners have been awaiting the gallows, according to statistics compiled by the Law Ministry.

jar/rc (AFP, PTI, dpa)

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