Islamabad: A convicted sectarian killer was hanged in Pakistan on Saturday at the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore, capital of Punjab province, officials said.

Ikramul Haq, an activist of the outlawed extremist group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, had been sentenced to death in 2004 by an anti-terrorism court.

The hanging brings to 20 the number of executions since the government removed a six-year moratorium on the death penalty a day after Taliban massacred 135 children on December 16 in Peshawar.

The lifting of the ban has been generally welcomed in the country, which stepped up the fight against terrorism with new resolve and vigour after the school carnage to eliminate the scourge.

However, the UN, the European Union and international rights groups have urged the country to restore the ban on the death penalty.

As part of a newly formulated anti-terrorism national action plan approved by the parliament military courts are being set up for speedy trial of accused in terrorism cases.