France has condemned the hanging of a Pakistani soldier convicted of murder and called for the country to renew its moratorium on executions and work towards abolishing the death penalty.
"This decision constitutes a step backwards in Pakistan's move towards greater respect for human rights," The Express Tribune quoted French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot, as saying.
Mohammad Hussain, condemned to death by a court martial in 2008 for killing a superior over a personal dispute, was hanged on Thursday at Mianwali jail in the country's first execution for four years, officials said.
Pakistan has had an unofficial moratorium on executions in recent years, with President Asif Ali Zardari regularly issuing stay orders for condemned prisoners.
Farooq Nazeer, chief of prisons in the central province of Punjab, said the hanging was not a civilian execution and the government did not intervene in military cases. He said the last execution in Pakistan was in November 2008, soon after the end of military rule. (ANI)