Pakistan: Family won't pardon Briton for money

Earlier this week President Pervez Musharraf delayed the hanging of Mirza Tahir Hussain, a British national of Pakistani descent, for a month so that his family could make a last ditch attempt to reach a settlement with relatives of the dead man. Hussain, who comes from Leeds in northern England, was to have been executed in early June.

Under Islamic sharia law, heirs of a victim may pardon a condemned man in return for blood money. But the elder brother of murdered taxi driver Jamshaid said that he could not accept taking blood money to pardon a British man facing the gallows.

The Khan family hail from Mohmand tribal region on Pakistan's North West Frontier bordering Afghanistan, and the clans there are known to continue blood feuds for generations. "Taking blood money is an insult in our culture. Our next generations would taunted for it if we accepted it," Maseet Khan said, adding that his family had already refused an offer from Hussain's family.

"We have gone through turmoil. My mother still visits the grave of my brother every Thursday. How can we pardon him," said Khan.

The brother of the condemned man said he was going through the same ordeal. "I resigned from Oxford two years ago as an analytical scientist and tried to run a privat e consultancy while pursuing my brother's case. Now I am trying to save my brother's life and not doing anything else," said Amjad Hussain.

Amjad, who visited Pakistan last week to try to save life of his brother, said he found it culturally hard to deal with the Khan family, who belong to the ethnic Pashtun tribe.
"Dealing with this tribe is a nightmare. They are not amicable people," said Hussain, whose own family originate from Pakistan's central Punjab province.

Hussain, whose family said the taxi driver had tried to sexually assault him before a struggle in which a gun belonging to Khan went off by accident, was acquitted by the High Court. But he was later found guilty and sentenced to death by an Islamic court, whose decision was upheld by the Supreme Court.

Both the British government and European Parliament have asked Musharraf to exercise mercy.

Find out more about Mirza Tahir Hussain's case and take action

Source: Reuters

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