After the Taliban’s attack on a Pakistani school in December 2014, the government lifted the moratorium on the death penalty to crack down on terrorism. With the lifting of the ban, thousands of prisoners on death row found themselves back in shackles, waiting to have their fate decided by an unstable criminal justice system. According to human rights reports, many convicts are executed without a fair trial as the state’s anti-terrorism machine engulfs the poor who are too weak to prove their innocence through the flawed and high-priced judicial system.

Northwestern University in Qatar students Shakeeb Asrar and Urooj Kamran Azmi's project aims to follow the struggle of convicts on death row, the story of an executioner who lives off the number of executions and activists fighting for the reformation of Pakistan’s vague anti-terrorism laws. In the cultural and historical city of Lahore, a hotbed of conservatism and liberalism, we see how these struggles and conflicts play out.

Shakeeb Asrar's picture
Student Fellow
Hailing from Lahore, Pakistan, Shakeeb is a senior at Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University in Qatar. His interests include magazine writing, interactive journalism, civic engagement...
Urooj Kamran Azmi's picture
Student Fellow
Urooj Kamran Azmi is a senior at Northwestern University in Qatar, majoring in Communication, with a certificate in Civic Engagement. She hails from Pakistan and is interested in pursuing social...

Navigating the Death Penalty in Pakistan