The plight of Mirza Tahir Hussain has received minimal coverage during Musharraf's visit to Britain this past week.
Hussain was involved in an incident with a taxi during which the latter was shot dead. Hussain was initially found guilty of murder, but eventually cleared by the Lahore High Court in Pakistan, citing a lack of evidence. Nonetheless, he was brought before Pakistan's Kafkaesque Federal Shariat Court for the crime of highway robbery, which has jurisdiction in such cases. This court found him guilty of a crime he says he did not commit, for which there was little or no evidence, and for an incident in which Hussain himself had the honesty to drive the dead body of the taxi driver to a police station. Indeed, one of the dissenting judges in the Shariat Court, Abdul Waheed Siddiqui, said that Hussain was "an innocent, raw youth not knowing the mischief and filth in which the police of this country is engrossed" and that the prosecution rested their claims on "conflicting, mutually annihilating" versions. He was set to be executed this past Sunday, but the execution has been delayed because of Ramadan. The IHRC, Fair Trials Abroad, has more on the background, as do Faisal Bodi (from back in May) and Sajjid Karim, MEP for North-West England. There is still time to write to the Pakistani High Commision in Britain. The IHRC has more on how to contact the PHCB. Or use Musharraf's website to let him (or his press secretary) know this is a travesty of justice and he should use his powers under Article 45 of Pakistan's constutition to grant Hussain a pardon (and whilst your there also voice your support for this).
What is also apparent in this sorry case, apart from the state of Pakistan's legal system, the corruption of their police force and the refusal of the Dictator to intervene for political purposes, is the damning silence in much of the media in Britain. Hussain is, afterall, a British citizen and a man who, despite not being born in Britain, served in the Territorial Army and was keen to join the regulars. He was willing to die for his country (despite not being born here), but now it seems his country is willing to remain silent and let him die. Imagine, asks Justin Huggler in the Independent, had this case had involved a white 18-year old on a gap-visit. How do you think the whole affair would have been covered?