ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: In a late night development on Wednesday, President Mamnoon Hussain deferred the execution of Saulat Mirza, a worker of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement who made sensational revelations against his party leadership through a video tape, sources said.

The president made the decision almost four hours before Mirza was to be hanged at 5am on Thursday in Balochistan’s Mach jail.

However, there was no official announcement or confirmation regarding the latest development in Saulat Mirza’s case and jail authorities told private TV channels that they had not received the president’s order. Many attempts were made to contact people in the presidency but in vain.

A leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Arif Alvi, said the execution should be deferred so that an investigation on the accusation levelled by Saulat Mirza regarding target killings by MQM leaders could be conducted. “He should be brought before a court of law so that his statement could be recorded there,” he said.

The Supreme Court had on Tuesday rejected a petition filed by death row convict Saulat Mirza against the return of his second review plea.

Last week, jail authorities had approached the trial court and asked it to issue black warrant for the condemned prisoner since his appeals had been turned down by the higher courts and his mercy petition dismissed by the president.

Late on Wednesday night, Saulat Mirza levelled serious allegations against Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan and other leaders of the party and said that like other workers, he was used by the party and then “thrown away like a tissue paper”.

He made the charges in a nine-minute statement aired by almost all news channels.

He appealed to the authorities to defer his hanging so he could share more facts and hand over evidence to ‘policymakers’ to bring sustainable peace to Karachi.

It was not clear how and when the interview was recorded in Balochistan’s Mach jail where he was to be executed.

“I ask my fellow party workers to open their eyes. I only want to appeal to my fellows and those who want to join any party. I just want to suggest to them that doing politics is good, but please do look into depth before joining any party or leader. Do think whether the party they are working for is sincere to their nation, city and country or just using them for their own interest. When they are caught they will be disowned,” the MQM worker said.

Saulat Ali Khan, better known as Saulat Mirza, was sentenced to death in 1999 for killing then managing director of the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation Shahid Hamid in 1997.

In his statement, he also claimed that the KESC chief had been killed on the “direct orders” of Altaf Hussain from London.

“We were four workers who were called at Babar Ghori’s residence where our telephonic contact was made with Altaf Hussain over PTCL landline. Altaf Hussain gave the directives himself,” he said.

“What I have observed about Altaf Hussain is that whenever he sees someone is becoming popular within the party, he removes him. For that reason MQM chairman Azeem Ahmed Tariq was killed on Altaf Hussain’s directives. Then we all know Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal who was so regarded and respected for his development work in Karachi but he was thrown out of the party with humiliation,” he said.

Mirza accused Dr Ishratul Ibad of protecting “criminal elements within the MQM” when they were caught by police. He referred to the facility he had at the Karachi jail because of party’s influence and said he had been allowed to use phones and meet family members inside his ‘room’ in the prison.

“I know many MQM workers in Pakistan and outside the country who want to get out this trap. They want to confess their crimes and share the history of their work they have done for MQM and how the party used them. We were brainwashed in the name of rights and nationalism,” he said.

Mirza also expressed fears about security of his family after his statement, but said he was doing this only to warn those who were still part of the MQM and those who wanted to join it in the future.

“I want to apologise to my nation and country for whatever I have done after being brainwashed in the name of rights and nationalism,” he added.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2015

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