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Press release

Briton’s fate ignored by President Musharraf

The Muslim Parliament expresses their grave concern over the lack of Parliamentary intervention from President Musharraf in the case of Tahir Hussain, an innocent man from Leeds, who has been on death row in Pakistan for 18 years and is set to be executed this month.

A delegation was presented to Dr Maleeha Lodi, the UK High Commissioner of Pakistan, on the 14th of June 2006 by Amjad Hussain, the brother of Tahir Hussain, and some of whom were present at the delegation were Hilary Benn MP for Leeds Central, John Battle MP for Leeds West, Greg Mulholland MP for Leeds North West, Stephen Jakobi representing Fair Trials Abroad among others. Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, the leader of the Muslim Parliament, expressed in writing to Dr Maleeha Lodi that after hearing about the delegation he felt that this was a positive outcome after such a long period of negotiation but it seems that the little hope she had given to support Tahir Hussain’s case had failed. There was no sign of true resolution and support by any representative of the Pakistani Government.

The Muslim Parliament is sadden that the disappointing reality of this situation is that even though it is clear and concise to any sane individual that President Musharraf most definitely has the discretion to ‘grant pardon, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or authority’, that has been clearly stated in Pakistan’s own Constitution, they are still denying an innocent man of his rights.

Dr Maleeha Lodi had stated in the delegation to the parties present that since approximately 1977 no President has given pardon or commutation because they do not have the power to do so. For the Muslim Parliament this notion is completely ridiculous, because why have a written Constitution if they are not willing to abide by them? And why have a President of a country who ‘apparently’ does not have the power over not only the Judicial System that runs his country but also the jail authorities, who are the ones setting the date for the execution?

In Britain the Muslim community, as well as the non-Muslim communities are shocked to hear that Mr Tahir Hussain’s life is in the hands of the deceased family. How can any family make a balanced and non-judgmental decision when their loved one has died, accidentally or not? The Muslim Parliament openly expressed how they found it very peculiar that regardless of how much the Pakistani Government are doing for this case the deceased’s family seem to be insolent enough to ignore the pressure, coming from in and around Pakistan. The Pakistani Government should be prepared for a number of questions that will arise nationally and internationally on this bizarre matter.

The situation at present is not to be taken lightly. Granting Mr Tahir Hussain series of 30-day reprieves without any definite solution is not justifiable, he cannot be left in prison for any longer. This ordeal that has lasted for 18 years is causing tremendous anguish for the entire family and the consequences on Pakistan will be extremely hard to repair. The Pakistani Government should not think that this case will be forgotten after a little while; this delusion will have a grave impact on how the world will perceive Pakistan, if they do not support this case. This is an opportunity for Pakistan to do something positive and to mend their reputation in the eyes of the world.

We are sure if the Pakistani Government were to free Mr Tahir Hussain it will not affect the way their own country perceives them, on constitutional or religious grounds. It is evident how rational and fair Islam is so why allow certain individuals who have personal vendetta to influence their decision in bringing justice and to release Tahir Hussain from this great miscarriage of justice.

For more information, please contact:

Asma Zaman, Campaign Co-ordinator – 020 8563 1995/ 07877 588396




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