Pardoned Hussain arrives

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London, Nov 18 (UNI) Escaping narrowly the proverbial Damocles's sword, Mirza Tahir Hussain arrived here after being freed in Pakistan from a death row for 18 years.

''It has been a tremendous strain to be parted from my family. I thank God for giving me the faith and strength to persevere. Freedom is a great gift. I want to use this freedom to get to know my family again,'' he said after reaching yesterday.

Mr Hussain, from Leeds, was barely able to speak. He expressed his gratitude through Sajjad Haider Karim, an MEP, in a statement.

He thanked the Pakistan President General Musharraf for granting him clemency and all those who campaigned for his release, including the Prince of Wales, the British Premier Tony Blair and human rights organisations.

''My thoughts remain with all the prisoners I have left behind,'' the statement read.

Reunited with his brother Amjad, in private, Mr Hussain then met his mother and sisters, whom he had not seen since his imprisonment.

He has always maintained that Jamshed Khan was killed accidentally.

A former Territorial Army soldier, Mr Hussain, was released from the Rawalpindi Central Jail at about 0900 hrs on Thursday.

Before his return to life as a free man he had to complete several formalities, including the payment of a fine of 200,000 rupees that was outstanding from the murder case.


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