The Supreme Court of India a couple of months ago observed that an alternative to the death sentence shall be introduced in India. The reasonable alternative is life imprisonment. An interesting observation emerged a week ago in which the apex court in India noted that death convicts must die in peace, not in pain. These two examples are relevant for Pakistan as well. Pakistan also executes death convicts as they do in India. The Criminal Procedure Codes of Pakistan and India prescribe death sentences and say that a death convicts shall be hanged by the neck till they are dead. In India, a bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud directed the Parliament and government to introduce less painful methods of execution. The bench also observed that hanging convicts is unconstitutional and invalid. The court passed an order on Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by an advocate Rishi Malhotra alleging that the present system of hanging is not only cruel, inhuman, and barbaric but it is also against the resolutions adopted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) which says that capital punishment must be carried out to inflict minimum possible suffering to condemned prisoners.It surfaced during the course of arguments that various countries had abolished the hanging method and introduced electrocution, lethal injection or shooting to the execute death sentence. Pakistan and countries that practice execution must do away with the death sentence for all crimes. In the awake of the Peshawar massacre Pakistan reinstated the death sentence after 8 years of moratorium. Because of the Peshawar massacre the government of Pakistan after due consultation with all the stakeholders decided to introduce the death sentence. It was then decided to execute terrorists or people convicted of terrorism related activities. However, until today those who were executed had no connection with terrorism. Mostly people convicted of ordinary criminal offences were sent to the gallows. The government of Pakistan introduced the 21st constitutional amendment in 2014-2015 wherein it introduced military courts for dealing with people accused of heinous offences. The reason for introducing the military courts was to send convicts to the gallows as quickly as possible and to ensure speedy trials. Human rights organisations across Pakistan rejected the government’s decision of introducing the military courts as such courts were once introduced in Zia’s era for political victimisation. There is a strong view within Pakistan in favour of the death sentence but the government and other stakeholders should raise awareness on human rights. The right to life cannot be forfeited or taken away by the state in any circumstanceToday, more than 500 convicts had been executed since 2014. Pakistan must consider its decision of reinstatement of the death sentence. It is a country where the criminal justice system can be easily manipulated as it has several abnormalities, ranging from the trial courts to the apex courts. Death convicts across Pakistan are from vulnerable and poor backgrounds, executing such people should not be considered just. There is a strong view within Pakistan in favour of the death sentence but the government and other stakeholders should raise awareness on human rights. The right to life cannot be forfeited or taken away by the state in any circumstance as it is a fundamental right that is given to man by nature. Generally, there is a big argument in favour of death sentences that it is the only solution for controlling the ratio of crimes and terrorism. But hanging people in the gallows enhances the level of violence in society. Pakistan and countries practicing the death sentence must introduce rehabilitation schemes for prisoners. There are many vulnerable prisoners who are suffering in the notorious jails of Pakistan such as Muhammad Iqbal who was a juvenile at the commission of an offence, however despite his juvenility the trial court sentenced him to death in 1999. He is in jail since 1998 meaning he has spent about 21 years in jail. His second mercy petition is pending with the president of Pakistan. Another example is Abdul Basit, who is in jail since 2002 and is best known for his disability among jail authorities. He is paralysed and cannot even move. Another case is of Kaniza Bibi is also worth considering. She is mentally decapacitated, and behind bars for many years, while not a single family members of hers is alive. Several other convicts from vulnerable and poor backgrounds also are kept in remand. Not only Pakistan, but other countries where the death sentence is practiced hang people from poor and vulnerable background.In the writer’s opinion, practice of the death sentence must be stopped in Pakistan as soon as possible. The criminal justice system of Pakistan is too inhumane and the number of abnormalities has taken the attention of international authorities. The Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted a number of death rows but they died in jail awaiting pendency of their appeals. Pakistan should abolish the death sentence and move towards life imprisonment as an alternative to the death sentence. Life for life phenomena is no longer effective. I’d like to finish off by saying, there should be no more allowances for hangings. The writer is an advocate based in Lahore, and can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, October 10th 2017.