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No pardon for Peshawar school attackers, says Pakistan PM

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this picture released by the Pakistan Press Information Department (PID) on July 23, 2015, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks in a nationwide televised address in Islamabad. (AFP photo)

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has asked the country's president to reject a petition for pardon for four militants sentenced to death over a school massacre in the northwestern city of Peshawar in December 2014.

The prime minister's office released a statement on Thursday quoting Sharif as saying that the "brutal and merciless killings" of the children in Peshawar have convinced him that the perpetrators of such crimes do not deserve any mercy.

“Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has advised the president [Mamnoon Hussain] to reject the mercy petitions of all four convicted terrorists of Army Public School Peshawar terrorist attack,” the statement said.

The primer has also said that by rejecting the mercy petitions, the president would be “honoring the promise made to the families” of the dead children.

In August, after a trial that took place behind closed doors, the army announced that six militants linked to the assault would be executed, while a seventh was handed a life sentence. It was not clear if the remaining two facing execution had also filed mercy petitions.  

Last December, a group of pro-Taliban militants stormed an army-run school in Peshawar and killed about 150 people, including 132 students. The massacre shocked and outraged a country already scarred by nearly a decade of attacks.

This handout photograph released by Pakistan's Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) office on January 12, 2015, shows Pakistani Army chief Raheel Sharif (R) speaking with students at the Army Public School after it was reopened following an attack there by Taliban militants in Peshawar. (AFP photo)

The horrific attack was claimed by the Taliban militants. The raid prompted Pakistan to set up military courts for terrorism and lift a 2008-moratorium on the death penalty.

Pakistan has been waging a major offensive against militant hideouts across the troubled northwestern tribal regions since June 2014 to quell violence that has raged unabated following the 2001 US-led invasion of neighboring Afghanistan.

Pakistani officials say almost 3,000 militants have been killed since the launch of the operation.

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