Military sources in Pakistan say two convicted militants were executed Friday, as the government intensifies its response to Tuesday's massacre of 149 people, mainly schoolchildren, in Peshawar.
The officials said Ageel, who went by one name and was also known as Dr. Usman, and Arshad Mahmood were hanged in a Faisalbad jail. The two men were found guilty in a military court of plotting attacks on military headquarters, assassination attempts on former President Pervez Musharraf, and a deadly attack on a visiting Sri Lanka cricket team.
The executions came a day after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif withdrew an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty in response to the militants’ assault on the military-run school, which shocked the world. Taliban militants called the attack retaliation for a government offensive against them.
Army chief General Raheel Sharif has signed the death warrants for four more militants, officials say, and the executions are expected soon. The army did not release the names of the convicts and local media reported they would only be identified after their death.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have condemned Sharif's decision to reinstate executions. Amnesty called it "a knee-jerk reaction which does not get at the heart of the problem."
As Pakistan began a third day of mourning for the victims of the school attack, troops ambushed and killed at least 50 militants in Khyber near the Afghan border. Another eight were killed in southwestern Baluchistan province, including a senior Taliban commander.
Pakistani officials say both jets and ground forces took part in this morning's attacks.
Related video: VOA's Ayaz Gul toured the devastated Peshawar school