In a few hours (October 1), British Time, it will be my birthday. It may also be the last day on earth for Mirza Tahir Hussain.

It seems appeals to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf during his presidential visit to Britain have fallen on deaf ears.

Musharraf alone has the power to commute Mirza’s sentence but he “brushed past” demonstrators in Oxford today and refused to comment on the Leeds man’s case.

At a meeting in Brussels earlier this month, Liberal Democrat Euro MP Sajjad Karim, Chair of the Friends of Pakistan group, said:

“I, and the whole of the UK Liberal Democrat delegation, have been leading a European Parliament campaign to prevent what would be a gross miscarriage of justice.

“We have garnered the support of the European Parliament President, Josep Borrell, to see to it that, after spending half his life on death row, Mirza Tahir Hussain is granted clemency. It is the eleventh hour and time is running out to end the suffering of Mirza Tahir Hussain and for his distraught family and all of us who have been working tirelessly to secure his release.”

In response President Musharaff said:

“I have received those pleas and appreciate your concern for this individual. You must understand that I have to work within the constraints of the law, but I am willing to find a solution to this case that goes over and above what the courts are able to do.”

As time runs out for Mirza those words sound increasingly hollow. If I had faith in a supernatural God I would praying to him right now to intervene and save this man.

Sadly, I have no such faith. I do, however, believe that Mirza will survive. Musharraf needs a “distraction” from a couple of “higher profile” issues at this time. Perhaps an act of clemency towards the man from Leeds will provide it? 

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