Pakistan has hanged at least 10 convicted murderers, the highest number in a single day after the government lifted a six-year-old moratorium on capital punishment, officials said.

Eight of the convicts were hanged in the Punjab province on Tuesday, while two others were hanged in the southern metropolis of Karachi, according to prison officials.

The latest hangings bring to 37 the number of convicts hanged since Pakistan resumed executions in December after Taliban fighters gunned down 154 people, most of them children, at a school in the restive northwest.

The partial lifting of the moratorium, which began in 2008, only applied to those convicted of terrorism offences, but was last week extended to all capital offences.

Only one person was executed during the period of the moratorium - a soldier convicted by a court martial and hanged in 2012.

Human rights group Amnesty International estimates that Pakistan has more than 8,000 prisoners on death row, most of whom have exhausted the appeals process.

Critical voices

Supporters of the death penalty in Pakistan argue that it is the only effective way to the deal with the scourge of rebel groups in the country.

But rights campaigners have been highly critical, citing problematic convictions in Pakistan's criminal justice system, which they say is replete with rampant police torture and unfair trials.

"This shameful retreat to the gallows is no way to resolve Pakistan's pressing security and law and order problems," Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International's deputy Asia-Pacific director, said last week.

European Union diplomats have also raised the issue of capital punishment - and the case of one man who was condemned to death as a teenager in particular - in meetings with Pakistani officials focused on trade and human rights.

The EU granted Pakistan the much coveted "GSP+" status in 2014, giving the country access to highly favourable trade tariffs, conditional on Pakistan enacting certain commitments on human rights.

Source: Agencies