Pakistan would go ahead with plans to execute three Islamist militants next week despite a threat from the Taliban to launch attacks in retaliation, officials said on Wednesday.
It would be the first execution in five years after Pakistan lifted a moratorium in June.
An Interior Ministry official said the Taliban threat would not intimidate the Government into changing its decision.
“We will do it,” said Ministry spokesman Omar Hamid Khan, referring to the planned executions on August 20 and 22 of three members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an anti-Shiite group with links to al-Qaeda.
Only one military official was executed during the five-year rule of President Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party, which came to power in 2008 but lost a parliamentary election in May.
Pakistani Taliban issued a warning to the Government, threatening retaliation if members of affiliated groups were executed.
“If the prisoners are executed, it would amount to a declaration of war on the part of the Government,” said a pamphlet distributed by the Taliban in their tribal stronghold near the Afghan border.
More than 450 Islamist militants held in Pakistani jails face the death sentence, according to the Interior Ministry.
Pakistani Taliban last month freed more than 40 militants from a prison in the north-western Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in a jail break.
Mr. Khan said security at prisons where militants were detained had been beefed up.
International rights groups and the European Union have been pushing Pakistan to scrap the death sentence.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry told DPA that rights groups and the EU had not protested the lifting of the moratorium.