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Pakistan has hanged at least seven convicted murderers ahead of the traditional halt in executions for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Pakistani officials said on June 16 that the latest deaths bring the total number of executions to about 160 since a ban on the death penalty was lifted in December.

Ramadan begins later this week and officials said no one would be executed during the holiday, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.

The executions took place in the central province of Punjab in various cities, including Lahore, Faisalabad, and Gujranwala.

Executions in Pakistan had been banned for six years until Taliban militants shot dead 154 people, mostly children, at a school in the restive northwestern city of Peshawar late last year.

The European Union, the United Nations, and human rights organizations have urged Pakistan to reinstate the moratorium on executions.

Amnesty International estimates that there are more than 8,000 prisoners on death row in Pakistan.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa
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