17 November, 2006

Mirza Tahir Hussain: new developments;

The Pakistani newspaper, Dawn reports that the family of the murder victim in the Mirza Tahir Hussain case is to appeal against the pardon.

Family members of a taxi-driver killed 18 years ago by a British national have expressed outrage at President Pervez Musharraf’s decision to commute his death sentence and said they would challenge the decision in the Supreme Court. President Musharraf commuted Mirza Tahir Hussain’s death sentence on Wednesday following a well-orchestrated campaign by his family, friends and politicians in Britain. The move came after a series of negotiations by Pakistani officials to persuade the victim’s family to reach a settlement failed.

“It is an unfair and unlawful decision,” Abdul Ghani, father of the taxi-driver, Jamshed Khan, told Dawn. “Not only all the courts in the country had upheld the death sentence but even the president had turned down the mercy petition of the accused earlier this year.”

Mr Ghani said in the present situation all he could do was to … seek justice from the apex [supreme - HB] court.

Advocate Malik Rab Nawaz told Dawn that the taxi-driver’s relative Sobhat Khan had contacted him regarding the appeal and added that they would contend in the appeal that the president did not have powers to commute the death sentence and it was the prerogative only of the heirs of the deceased to pardon the killer or reach a compromise.
The British High Commission is refusing to comment but, according to Reuters India, a British diplomat has confirmed that Hussein has already left Pakistan. Just as well, perhaps. I have an uneasy suspicion that, given Musharraf's political problems with Islamic extremists, we have not heard the last of this case.

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