Pakistan on Tuesday hanged seven convicted militants, officials said, raising to 16 the number of executions carried out since Islamabad lifted a six-year moratorium on the death penalty in December. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lifted the moratorium in the aftermath of a brutal Taliban assault on a school in Peshawar that left 150 dead, including 134 children. The executions, which were carried out across the country, came as US Secretary of State John Kerry visits Pakistan, where he has pledged to boost security and intelligence cooperation for Islamabad’s fight against militancy. Speaking at a joint press conference with Pakistan’s national security adviser Sartaj Aziz, Kerry said Pakistan deserved “enormous credit” for the operation but warned the task was not yet complete. “I emphasised that the US is committed to deepening our security relationship with Pakistan in order to eliminate threats in the border area and elsewhere,” the US secretary of state told reporters. “The tragedy of December 16 is really a reminder of the serious risk of allowing extremists to find space, and be able to command that space and operate within it,” Kerry added. Pakistani officials have said that Kerry plans to visit Peshawar, but the State Department has not confirmed such plans, and the top US diplomat was due to leave later on Friday for Geneva. Kerry warned that all terror groups such as both the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network and the Lashkar-e-Taiba “continue to pose a threat not just to Pakistan and its neighbours but also to the United States and the world.” “Make no mistake the task is a difficult one and it is not done,” Kerry said. “We all have a responsibility to ensure that these extremists are no longer able to secure a foothold in this country or elsewhere.” Officials in four Pakistani jails confirmed the hangings took place early on Tuesday morning amid tight security. One of the militants, Zulfiqar Ali, was convicted of killing two policemen during an attack on the US consulate in Karachi in 2003. An official in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed his hanging. Shuja Khanzada, home minister for Pakistan’s Punjab province, said two men, Mushtaq Ahmed and Nawazish Ali, were executed in the central city of Faislabad for a 2003 assassination attempt on former military ruler Pervez Musharraf. Mumtaz Ahmad, a prison official in southern Sindh province, added: “Three persons convicted in sectarian killings were hanged in Sukkur.” Those executed were militants belonging to the banned anti-Shiite organisation Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat, formerly known as Sipah-e-Sahaba, and were named as Shahid Hanif, Talha Hussain and Khalil Ahmad. They were convicted for assassinating Syed Zaffar Ali Shah in 2003, who was working as a senior official in Pakistan’s defence ministry at the time. Another senior prison official said one more militant, Behram Khan, was hanged in Karachi for the killing of a lawyer. The United Nations, European Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called on Pakistan to re-impose its moratorium on the death penalty. Rights campaigners say Pakistan overuses its anti-terror laws and courts to prosecute ordinary crimes.