Yesterday (October 18) the session judge in the case of Mirza Tahir Hussain issued a fresh warrant for the Leeds man’s execution. According to Adiala jail authorities Mirza’s family were informed that he would hang at 06:30 am November 1st, a date which would have coincided with a visit to Pakistan by a member of the British royal family.

Today, in response to a plea for clemency by Prince Charles, the man has been granted a further stay of execution (his fourth). He will not now be executed before 31 December.

His brother Amjad, speaking to the BBC, expressed his anger at the decision: “Pakistan has no due regard for the representations that have been made. It’s like saying to my brother ‘Live to die another day’. It’s murder by a thousand cuts.

“They’re not going to execute my brother while Mr Musharraf takes his Royal Highness to dinner, but after that he will execute him, maybe a month or two months later… It is a continuation of the torture and the agony. It is not a solution.”

Under article 45 of Pakistan’s constitution the President has the power to pardon mirza but has refused to do this, in spite of his self confessed doubts regarding the safety of the conviction.

By not bringing the matter to a positive conclusion at this time, Musharraf throws away a timely opportunity to show the world that Islamic governments are capable of compassion and justice. Simply delaying the execution one more time is an act of terrible cruelty both to Mirza and his family.

Liberal Democrat Mep Liz Lynne said on 10 October at the World Day Against the Death Penalty that Musharraf had “heard the collective voice of Europe during his recent visits to Brussels and London”. When she met with him privately she told him “in no uncertain terms, that the carrying out of this execution would cast a shadow over the reputation of Pakistan within the EU, as it would clearly represent a rare combination of excessive cruelty and profound injustice.”

It seems the “terms” were not “certain” enough. I wonder how much more certain they would be if the man suffering the injustice was a white European. 

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