Pakistan in touch with Indonesia for clemency for death row convict

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Islamabad, July 28 (IANS) Pakistan on Thursday said it was in touch with top officials in Indonesia to halt the imminent execution of Pakistani national Zulfiqar Ali for drug smuggling.

Ali is set to be executed by a firing squad in the next 24 hours on a prison island in Indonesia.

Pakistan will keep up efforts to halt Ali’s imminent execution “till the last moment”, a Pakistan Foreign Office official said, adding that it was in talks with Jakarta and remained hopeful about the possibility of clemency for Ali, Dawn online reported.

Indonesia rejected the appeals from the UN and European Union to halt the execution of 14 drug convicts including an Indian and Zulfiqar Ali.

The group, besides Ali and Indian national Gurdip Singh, includes four Indonesians, including a woman, six Nigerians, a Zimbabwean, and a South African.

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They have been placed in isolation on a prison island — Nusakambangan island — where Jakarta carries out executions.

On Wednesday evening, the Attorney General of Indonesia announced the death penalty would be applied to 13 men and one woman as a punishment for drug-related crimes.

Ali’s family had been informed that he would be executed on Thursday night. His family carried out a protest in Lahore on Wednesday.

Rights groups in Pakistan claim Ali was beaten into confessing.

Pakistan summoned Indonesian Ambassador Iwan Suyudhie Amri in Islamabad this week to convey their concerns, Dawn online reported.

Ali was arrested in November 2004 in connection with a 300 gram heroin case in Jakarta.

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

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After restarting the death penalty last year, Indonesia has planned to execute 16 prisoners this year and up to 30 in 2017.

As of June, some 152 inmates in prisons nationwide are awaiting execution, according to Indonesian authorities.



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