- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 12, 2002

QUETTA, Pakistan Two Middle East politicians have asked the United States to spare the life of convicted killer Aimal Kasi, saying such an act would help win the war on terrorism, a Pakistani newspaper reported Monday.
Mr. Kasi, 38, born in the dusty border town of Quetta, is scheduled to be executed Thursday by lethal injection in Virginia for gunning down two CIA employees as they sat in their cars outside agency headquarters.
Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner said yesterday he had received a clemency petition from Mr. Kasi, but will not comment on the case until court appeals are exhausted.
In Kasi's hometown, newspapers have published appeals for clemency and have asked the city's more than 1 million residents to "pray for Aimal Kasi that God save his life from execution." His family, friends and 1,000 Muslim clerics have also issued appeals.
Two prominent local politicians, according to the newspaper story, said putting Kasi to death won't help the United States' relationship with Pakistan, a key ally in the fight against Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
"By forgiving one person the U.S. can win the hearts of millions of people in its war against terrorism," the Baluchistan Times quoted Sarwar Khan Kakar and Noor Jehan Panezai as saying in a joint statement. Mr. Kakar is secretary-general of the state branch of the party that supports Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the Quaid-e-Azam faction of the Pakistan Muslim League.
The U.S. State Department has warned that Mr. Kasi's execution could result in retaliation against Americans around the world. Just two days after Mr. Kasi was convicted in 1997, assailants gunned down four American oil company workers in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi.
The newspaper also published an editorial yesterday calling for the United States to grant Mr. Kasi clemency.
"Pardoning him at this stage by President Bush will definitely have a very healthy effect, not only on Pakistan-U.S. relations but on the entire Muslim world, where the sentiments against America have been growing," the editorial read.

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