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'I'll ask the President to pardon my father'

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Sopore
September 28, 2006 23:50 IST
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With the date for the hanging of the 2003 Parliament attack mastermind Mohammed Afzal Guru drawing closer, his family is waiting for Afzal's decision on whether to file a mercy petition in front of the President.

Afzal's wife Tabassum and their seven-year-old son Ghalib, who have been living with her parents in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla has now come back to her in-laws' house at Sopore.

Mother and son are preparing to leave for New Delhi's Tihar Jail, perhaps for a last meeting with Afzal.

"He told me last time not to file any mercy petition since he believed nobody would deliver justice," Tabassum said.

Despite the grief and trauma, Ghalib, named after the great Urdu poet, believes there still is hope. "I will appeal to the President to pardon my father," he says.

Tabassum adds: "The last time I visited him in Tihar Jail, he recited Ghalib's famous line Khak ho jayenge hum tum ko khabar hone tak (I would have turned to ashes by the time you come to know)" Tabassum said.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Sopore