Blair intervenes in death-row case

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Prime Minister Tony Blair has intervened in the case of a British-Asian scheduled to be executed in Pakistan in November.

36-year-old Mirza Tahir Hussain is scheduled to be executed on November 1 for the killing of a taxi driver in 1998.

The Prime Minster warned Pakistan of the seriousness of the case if Mr Hussain is executed.

“I hope even at this stage that there is an intervention to ensure this does not take place. I think it would be very serious if it does,” Blair said, when asked about the case in the House of Commons.    

He added he personally talked about Mr Hussain’s case when he met President Musharraf during his recent visit to London.

President Musharraf has previously ordered three stays of execution following campaigns by Mr Hussain’s family, but there is no reason to suggest he will postpone the forthcoming scheduled execution.

News that a royal visit by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall to Pakistan will coincide with the execution has also caused anger with Leeds MP Greg Mulholland calling for the Prince to cancel his visit.

He said: “For this unjust execution to go ahead anyway would be bad enough, but to do this when Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, is visiting the country would be monstrous.

“I would urge His Royal Highness to cancel his visit if this terrible miscarriage of justice, the state murder of a man from Leeds, is scheduled to go ahead at that time.

“Cancelling the visit will send a clear and powerful message to the Pakistani authorities.”

Respect MP George Galloway had planned to travel to Pakistan to appeal directly to the President but cancelled the trip at the request of Mr Hussain’s family.

The case has won the backing of human rights organisation Amnesty International who has also appealed for his release.

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