PDP Seeks Clemency For Parliament Attack Convict Afzal
30 September 2006
The Times of India
Srinagar: Mainstream politicians of Jammu and Kashmir, including PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, have joined separatists in asking that Mohammad Afzal Guru, sentenced to death for the 2001 terror attack on Parliament, be pardoned. There have been widespread protests over the past three days in Srinagar against a court order setting October 20 as the date for the execution of Guru, who hails from the Kashmir valley. Mehbooba, whose PDP is part of the ruling coalition, called for a review of Guru's death sentence, saying this could affect the peace process in Kashmir. She questioned the wisdom of executing Guru at a time when India is building bridges with Pakistan and the people of Kashmir. Claiming Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad too was in favour of clemency for Guru, she told reporters, 'I'll suggest that all (political parties) - the Congress, National Conference and PDP and other mainstream parties - should together appeal to the President to change this sentence from death to life imprisonment. 'Noting that Guru has a young son and elderly parents, Mehbooba said when Nalini, one of those sentenced to death for the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, could be shown mercy, the same could be done for Guru. The CPI-M too demanded a review of Guru's death sentence, saying the step would hamper the peace process in the subcontinent. 'The execution of the verdict would make matters worse and given the seriousness of the situation, one cannot ignore the tumult caused due to the decision of hanging Guru and its negative impact on the peace process,' said a statement from the party.