The Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Pakistan hosted an exclusive live screening of a one-of-a-kind art performance on the eve of World Day against the Death Penalty on 9 October 2020 in Islamabad.
Titled ‘Before The Sun Comes Up’, the performance was streamed live online featuring artists based in two different countries performing from their homes via Zoom.
‘Before the Sun Comes Up’ was based on four original short stories of death row prisoners written by acclaimed Pakistani novelist and writer Mohammed Hanif. Narrated by Pakistani actor and director Sarmad Khoosat, it also featured a musician and visual artist from Scotland. The performance was produced by Justice Project Pakistan, a non-profit legal action firm.
The screening was attended by ambassadors from the European Union, civil society organizations and government ministries – including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Human Rights and the Council of Islamic Ideology. The Chief Guest at the event was Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Law and Justice Barrister Dr. Muhammad Farogh Naseem.
“The call for the death penalty might come from an impulse in reaction to a horrific crime. But as a society, we need to reflect deeper on what justice really means and what needs to be done for such crimes not to happen again. There is no valid scientific evidence to support that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishments,” said European Union Ambassador Androulla Kaminara
“In Pakistan, the capital punishment is an exception and is awarded in very rare cases. No one has been executed in the country in the ongoing year (2020). The Supreme Court has evolved a jurisprudence, which has decreased the number of death sentences,” said Pakistan’s Minister for Law and Justice Barrister Dr. Muhammad Farogh Naseem.
Pakistan has one of the highest number of executions in the world. Since the de-facto moratorium on the death penalty was lifted in 2015, the country has executed 516 individuals. Pakistan also has over 4,000 individuals on death row – 15% of the world’s death row population.”