Thursday, May 18, 2006

Blair asks Musharraf to stop Briton being hanged

18/5/2006 4:21:15 PM

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Britain asked Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf on Thursday to stop the hanging of a British man convicted of shooting dead a taxi driver 18 years ago.

Mirza Tahir Hussain, from Leeds, is due to face the gallows on June 3, two days after his 36th birthday, having spent half his life in jail.

"The British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, on her behalf and on behalf of Prime Minister Tony Blair, has written a letter to President Musharraf requesting him to commute the death sentence of Hussain to an appropriate term of imprisonment," a British diplomat in Islamabad told Reuters.

Hussain, who is of Pakistani descent and according to Pakistani officials holds dual nationality, was arrested in Rawalpindi in 1988.

He was charged with murdering and robbing a taxi driver who he says had tried to physically and sexually assault him. Hussain maintained that the man had pulled a gun on him and it went off during a struggle.

Hussain was acquitted by the country's High Court but an Islamic Court -- the Federal Shariat Court -- sentenced him to death by hanging in 1998. The sentence was later upheld by the country's Supreme Court in 2003, and a review petition was rejected a year later.

Several British parliamentarians have pleaded for Pakistan to exercise mercy, while the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission said there had been a "miscarriage of justice".

Excuse me but.......... I can believe this story. I have been in some taxis with some very dubios characters in this neck of the woods.

What I do not understand is what has it got to do with Tony Blair? If you take the nationality of another country this should be conditional on that being your country and your only country. This young man took British citizenship but retained his old passport and citizenship. Why?

Did he not really like UK? Did he just want the protection of a British passport? What?

He was tried under Pakistani Law as a Pakistani, he was tried under Sharia Law as a Moslem. What has this got to do with Britian. If Mirza wanted the protection of his British passport he should have given up his Pakistani Passport.

The British Passport is not a toy. It should not be used as a 'GET OUT OF JAIL FREE' card as and when one choses.

If you want a passport from my country then by all means, if you qualify, take it. Please don't use it as your 'ace in the hole'. You only belittle the status it has for others.

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