ISLAMABAD: Pakistan military courts have sentenced eleven Taliban militants to death for terrorism-related offenses, the army said Tuesday.
The nation has hanged hundreds of people – 326 last year alone – since lifting a moratorium on the death penalty in Dec. 2014.
The “hardcore terrorists” had been convicted of offenses including killing and kidnapping civilians, attacks on the armed forces and police, and destruction of schools and communications infrastructure, an army statement said.
The 11 belonged to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which is waging a bloody insurgency against the military and the government.
Pakistan has been battling a homegrown Islamist insurgency for over a decade following its decision to side with the US-led coalition that toppled the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.
Since June 2014 its troops have been engaged in a full-scale offensive against Taliban and other militants in the North Waziristan and Khyber tribal districts in the northwest.
The fight gained renewed impetus following a Taliban massacre at a Peshawar army school in Dec. 2014 in which 134 children were killed.
The attack sparked widespread outrage and led to a series of measures aimed at combating terror.
Among other measures the government ended a six-year moratorium on executions – initially only for people convicted of terrorism but later for all capital offences.
Pakistan also amended its constitution to allow military courts to try terror suspects for a two-year period.
Supporters of the courts say cases previously dragged on for years and many suspects escaped punishment due to legal loopholes or intimidation of witnesses.
But the country’s growing use of the death penalty has come in for international criticism.