Pakistan hangs four militants linked to school massacre

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Pakistan Wednesday hanged four militants for involvement in a massacre last year at an army-run school, as the country prepares to mark the first anniversary of the killings.

The four convicts were executed in a jail in Kohat near the north-western city of Peshawar, a security official said on condition of anonymity. State-run Pakistan Television also reported the executions.

Islamabad lifted a moratorium on hangings after the school killings on December 16, and the four were convicted by special military courts set up to expedite the trial of terrorists.

The four hanged men were convicted for helping prepare or fund the attack.

Their last mercy appeals were rejected by the president last month, and army chief General Raheel Sharif signed the death warrants on Monday.

About 150 people, mostly schoolchildren, were killed when gunmen overran the compound, in an attack that shocked the nation.

The gunmen who actually carried it out all died at the scene, either killed by army commandos or after detonating suicide vests.

Nasir Ullah, whose 15-year-old son was killed, said he was relieved when he heard news of the hanging.

“They should have been hanged in public, just like they killed our children in broad daylight,” Ullah said.

So far more than 300 convicts have been hanged for terrorism-related offences, amid criticism from international and local rights groups.

“Executions have failed to stop militancy. How can hangings stop a terrorist who is wearing a suicide vest?” asked Zaman Khan, a spokesman for the independent Human Right Commission of Pakistan.

There are over 8,000 death row prisoners in Pakistan, according to the Interior Ministry.

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