Peshawar attack
A local reporter walks past a damaged wall of the Army Public School, which was attacked by Taliban gunmen, in Peshawar.Reuters

A controversial advertisement appeared in national Urdu newspapers in Pakistan last week, threatening relatives of 'missing terrorists' with punishment that could include death penalty if they failed to report their disappearance to authorities.

The advertisement published on Friday was in the form of a public notice, though no government department or agency was mentioned, according to Dawn

The notice read: "In accordance with the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 and other laws related to terrorism, public at large are informed that if any member or members of their family including those non-relatives looked after by them are individually or being a member of an organisation involved, or there are apprehensions of their involvement, in any act of terrorism and are missing from their residences for that purpose, they should report it to the nearby police station or office of assistant political agent along with picture of the missing person or persons."

"In case of failure if any terrorist was arrested in connection with an act of terrorism, including suicide bombing, or is killed then legal action will be taken against his parents, brothers or the relative who had looked after him under provisions of the above mentioned laws in which that terrorist was found involved or killed including death penalty, life imprisonment and confiscation of movable and immovable properties."

The ad created a stir, especially among lawyers, who said that there are no provisions in Pakistan's law that can give death sentence to relatives of a terrorist. 

Noor Alam Khan, advocate of the Supreme Court, told Dawn that the advertisement could incite family members to spy on their relatives, which goes against Islam. 

Other lawyers pointed out that Pakistani laws allow only for punishment of up to six months in jail for intentionally withholding information of an offence committed. 

The Pakistan government and army are cracking down heavily on terrorism in the country, especially after the Peshawar school massacre last December. 

While the Taliban and Al Qaeda are the dominant terror groups in the country, the Islamic State is also reportedly gaining ground in the beleaguered nation. 

Last month, Isis claimed responsibility for an attack on American medical worker Debra Lobo in Karachi.