19 October, 2006

Mirza Tahir Hussain: Update

The case of Mirza Tahir Hussain, the British citizen acquitted of murder by the Pakistani High Court and then re-tried and sentenced to death under Sharia, looks as though it might be slowly moving towards some sort of resolution. The Guardian reports that,

Prison officials in Pakistan said his execution had been delayed from November 1 for two months after the Prince of Wales and Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened in his plight. According to some reports, the Pakistani government were also consulting legal experts and considering the possibility of a pardon for Hussain.

His brother Amjad said: "In postponing the execution President (Pervez) Musharraf has clearly recognised the strength of public feeling over this case but the correct response would have been for him to pardon my brother or commute his sentence, not to merely postpone this barbaric punishment, presumably in the hope that the fuss will die down.
Although a pardon would have been the correct response to this double jeopardy miscarriage of justice, Musharraf is in a difficult position. As regular readers of this blog will know, the President has serious problems with local Islamic extremists in Waziristan and Balochistan, and with rogue elements within the ISI (Pakistani Intelligence Services) and maybe even the army itself. It is a particularly bad time, therefore, for the President to inflame matters by over-riding Sharia Law.

However, the good news is that Prince Charles will be visiting Pakistan from 29 October to 3 November. The Prince's standing in Pakistan and his behind the scenes interventions may offer Hussain more hope than the legal arguments.


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