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More Protests on Eve of Planned US Execution of Pakistani
Published on Thursday, November 14, 2002 by Agence France Presse
More Protests on Eve of Planned US Execution of Pakistani
 

Protests by hundreds of people against the impending execution in the US of Pakistani Mir Aimal Kasi continued in Pakistan, as the US embassy warned its citizens to exercise maximum caution amid fears of a violent backlash.


Supporters of Aimal Kasi, a Pakistani man condemned to death in Virginia for killing two CIA employees, shout during a rally Thursday, Nov. 14, 2002, in Kasi's hometown of Quetta, Pakistan, Thursday, Nov 14, 2002. Kasi is scheduled to be executed Thursday night. (AP Photo/K.M.Chaudary)
Kasi, who belongs to a powerful tribe from southwestern Pakistan, is due to be executed in the United States at 9:00 pm Thursday (0200 GMT Friday) for the 1993 shooting murders of two Central Intelligence Agency employees.

Bearing placards emblazoned with slogans "Bush is the enemy of Muslims" and "Stop interference into Pakistan's internal affairs", protestors in the central town of Multan chanted criticisms against former Pakistani president Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari for his involvement in Kasi's arrest.

The protest took place amid heavy security and police were also deployed to churches, missions and main squares.

In Quetta, Kasi's hometown lying some 680 kilometers (420 miles) south-west of Islamabad, over 200 members of his tribe staged a similar placard-waving demonstration, chanting "Death to Bush" and burning a US flag in front of the Quetta press club.

But one protestor maintained that the group's anger was directed at the US government, not US citizens.

"I want to make clear that we the Kasi tribe and the family members of Aimal Kasi have nothing against US citizens. Our hatred is towards the US government," student Abdur Rahim told AFP.

The US embassy in Islamabad issued a notice Thursday reminding US citizens "of the continuing threat of terrorist actions that may target civilians, especially in light of the scheduled ... execution in the State of Virginia of Mir Aimal Kansi ...

"Americans who continue to reside in or visit Pakistan should exercise maximum caution and take prudent measures," said the notice, posted on the embassy's website.

After the murders Kasi slipped back into Pakistan and became the most wanted man on the FBI list. In 1997 he was nabbed by FBI agents in the town of Dera Ghazi Khan, near here, and taken back to the US for trial without undergoing formal extradition.

Kasi has appealed for a review of his case by the US Supreme Court, which has not yet decided if it will hear the appeal, and has also applied for clemency from Virginia Governor Mark Warner.

His case has led to boosted security in Pakistan and has sparked protests across the country, including a demonstration in Multan Wednesday where more than 500 students called for Kasi's extradition back to Pakistan.

Kasi's brother Naseebullah warned on Wednesday that more protests were likely to erupt in Pakistan, although Kasi had issued public appeals for peace from prison.

"The tribe, which is among the most educated in Baluchistan, will accept his death with a heavy heart, but religious parties and other sections of society have decided to protest over his death," Naseebullah told AFP.

The impending execution has put Washington on alert against possible revenge attacks by Islamist groups, especially overseas, with the State Department issuing a worldwide warning on November 6.

Copyright 2002 AFP

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