Efforts intensified to save Pakistani on death row in Indonesia

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Islamabad, July 26 (IANS) The Pakistani government has intensified diplomatic efforts for saving a national, Zulfiqar Ali, who is facing imminent execution in Indonesia after being convicted of drug-related charges.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, who is in Laos for an Asean (Association of Sou­theast Asian Nations) Regional Forum meeting, has sought a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi on the issue, according to officials.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Ambassador Iwan Suyudhie Amri was summoned to the Foreign Office over the expected execution.

“Indonesian ambassador in Islamabad was also called in by the ministry and asked to convey the government of Pakistan’s concern to his authorities,” Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakariya told Dawn online.

After languishing in jail for 12 years, Ali is set to be executed in Indonesia.

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The Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), a human rights law firm, has requested President Mamnoon Hussain to take up the matter with the Indonesian government to save the life of “an innocent Pakistani”.

Ali, 52, was arrested in November 2004 in connection with a 300-gram heroine case in Jakarta. A co-accused in the case, Gurdip Singh, retracted his statement against Ali, saying the confession had been coerced from him.

The JPP said the Indonesian police had been unable to bring forward any material evidence to support their charge against Ali.

“Despite this, the Pakistan embassy in Jakarta has received a notification that Ali will be executed in the near future and that the family will be given a 72-hour notice,” Dawn online quoted JPP as saying.

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Ali was arrested at his home without a warrant in Indonesia’s West Java province. For three days, he was “kicked, punched and threatened with death” by the Soekarno-Hatta Airport district police until he was forced to sign a “self-incriminating confession”.

Ali was rushed into an emergency stomach and kidney surgery due to the severity of the physical torture he was subjected to. He remained in the hospital for 17 days, for which the expenses had to be borne by his family, the JPP said.

It said Ali had been denied fair trial and his only legal recourse now was to apply for clemency with the Indonesian president.

Ali’s wife, Siti Rouhani, has pinned her last hopes on the government.

“If I get some support from Pakistan, something may happen and my husband may be saved,” Dawn online reported citing Siti as saying.

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