There are only two days remaining before the execution of Zahid Hussain Shah, a Pakistani, who was sentenced to death on charges of drug smuggling in the People's Republic of China. He will be executed on September 21 at 4.00 pm local time (1.00 pm Pakistani time). The AHRC and other human rights organizations including Amnesty International have appealed to the President of China to commute the death sentence on humanitarian grounds and also requested the Pakistani government to pursue the authorities in the People's Republic of China to commute it. Please see the Urgent Appeal issued by the AHRC CHINA/PAKISTAN: Appeal to commute the death sentence of a Pakistani citizen in the Peoples Republic of China
It is the primary duty of the Pakistani government to come forward and save the life of any Pakistani citizen who was made a victim because of the wrong advice from his lawyer and the sheer negligence of the staff of the Pakistan embassy in Beijing. The staff at the Pakistani Consulate in Shanghai offered no effective assistance to the victim or his family members.
The AHRC wishes to point out that in February 2011 the government of the People's Republic of China commuted the death sentences of three Filipino citizens at the request and visit of the Vice President of the Philippines. In a case similar to that of Zahid Hussain Shah the three Filipinos were also arrested on the charges of drug smuggling. This effort was made by President Aquino of the Philippines who decided to send a delegation under the Vice President to urge the authorities in China to pardon the three men. The Chinese government responded positively and commuted the death sentences.
The AHRC urges President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Gillani to follow the compassionate example of the government of the Philippines and take immediate steps to send a delegation to China to ask for the commutation of the death sentence of Zahid Hussain Shah immediately on humanitarian grounds. The government of Pakistan has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights and recognized the right to life by not executing the 7500 prisoners who have been on death row for many years. The decision of the Zardari government in the regard was hugely welcomed the world over and significantly increased Pakistan's status throughout the world.
The AHRC hopes that government of Pakistan will follow the action of President Aquino of the Philippines and try its best to have the death sentence of Zahid Hussain Shah commuted. Time is running out and if this man's life is to be saved the time for action is now. The words, "We tried our best" will be of little comfort to Zahid Hussain Shah's family if the government fails to make any effort at all.