LONDON (AFP) – A British man facing execution in Pakistan has thanked Prince Charles and Prime Minister Tony Blair for their intervention in his case in a BBC radio interview before his sentence was delayed.
Mirza Tahir Hussain, 36, had faced being hanged on November 1, during Charles’s visit to Pakistan with his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.
But now his execution has been delayed by two months, according to Pakistani jail officials.
In a mobile phone interview from his prison cell, Hussain told BBC radio: “I am grateful to His Royal Highness for showing interest in my plight.
“I am also grateful to Prime Minister Blair for his continued representation.
“It is the 11th hour and I once again renew my heartfelt plea to President Musharraf to pardon me and reflect on my circumstances and sufferings when he leads the country in celebrating Eid.
“I am hoping that President Musharraf will not send me to the gallows when he himself has expressed doubts about the safety of my conviction.”
Blair called Wednesday for Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to intervene, while heir-to-the-throne Charles has contacted Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz about the case.
The British High Commission in Islamabad has insisted that the royal visit will still go ahead in light of the affair.
Hussain, from Leeds in northern England, was convicted of the murder of a taxi driver, Jamshed Khan, in 1988 and has spent half his life in prison.
He said in the interview that the driver had tried to sexually assault him and pulled a gun and that the weapon went off during a struggle, killing the driver.
Hussain asked “Almighty Allah” to grant “strength, courage and steadfastness” to Khan’s family so that they could show “mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation”.