The legal team for a Pakistani prisoner set to be hanged on Wednesday has written an open letter to ruling PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, asking him to help commute the death sentence into life imprisonment.
Zulfiqar Ali Khan has been on death row since 1998 in a murder case. Khan, lodged in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, would be hanged on May 6 unless a stay of execution is granted.
Sarah Belal, Khan's Oxford-educated defence lawyer, asked Cherwell – the weekly student newspaper at Oxford where Bilawal studies – to print an open letter to the PPP Chairman.
"We humbly request that you exercise your authority as Chairman of the Pakistan People's Party to mobilise your party members and the President of Pakistan, Mr Asif Ali Zardari, to commute Zulfiqar's death sentence into life imprisonment," states the letter by San Francisco-based Belal.
Khan has claimed that he was sent to jail after an "accidental murder" and that he lost his case because he could not afford a good lawyer. He has two daughters aged 13 and 11 and his wife died of cancer while he was in prison.
A graduate when jailed, Khan went on to obtain an MA in political science and did about 11 short and long-term diploma courses in various disciplines, including journalism, medicine and library sciences.
Khan, who has won a gold and two silver medals, has also worked to teach other prisoners.