re:ssb - Markets will be jittery this week ....

  1. 29,175 Posts.
    lightbulb Created with Sketch. 71
    Found it,ssb.
    It COULD spark a bit of a protest, but not as much as if he had been Al Qaieda.


    November 9, 2002
    Pakistan City Hopes for Clemency
    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


    Filed at 2:43 p.m. ET


    QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) -- U.S. authorities plan to execute Aimal Kasi this week for gunning down two CIA employees nine years ago as they sat in their cars outside the intelligence agency's headquarters in Virginia.

    But in his dusty hometown of Quetta, on the edge of a desert in southwest Pakistan, Kasi is remembered more as a shy but emotional man -- one whose life should be spared even though he committed a terrible crime, his friends and tribal members said Sat*rday.

    ``I appeal to the United States to forgive him and this forgiveness will decrease the hate which is going up day by day against America,'' Arbab Zahir Kasi, the wealthy chief of Kasi's tribe, said in a calm but steady voice as he sat on a sofa in the living room of his large home. ``If they forgive him, it will have a positive effect over all the Muslim community.''

    The 38-year-old Kasi is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in Virginia on Nov. 14. If he doesn't win a pending appeal, people plan to protest in Quetta, a crowded trading town near the Afghan border where street vendors push carts piled with spices, nuts and red pomegranates past modest homes and shops made of brick, concrete and mud.

    Kasi's friend Asif Hassan Saleh clutched his hands tightly together and raised his voice as he discussed the planned execution and its possible repercussions.

    ``There will be strong anguish in all of Quetta, strong anger,'' said Saleh, a 42-year-old used car salesman. ``The people of this city felt he did something wrong, but there will be protests not only from Kasi tribe but the entire province.''

    Quetta 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.

    The U.S. State Department has warned that Kasi's execution could result in retaliation against Americans around the world.

    Just two days after Kasi was convicted in 1997, assailants gunned down four American oil company workers in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi. A previously unknown group calling itself the Aimal Secret Committee claimed responsibility for the attack. The group promised further attacks if Kasi is executed.

    Pakistani Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider told reporters Sat*rday that security would be increased in Quetta but he wasn't expecting trouble. ``I don't think there would be any violent reaction in Pakistan to the execution of a person who was involved in murders,'' Haider said.

    Although most of Quetta's residents are poor, Kasi's family is rich -- one of the wealthiest in the city. A ward at Quetta hospital was built by Kasi's father and is named after the family, which declined to comment Sat*rday about the planned execution.

    From the street, it's hard to see the family's sprawling two-story concrete compound because it is surrounded by the several storefronts the family owns and rents out to merchants in the northeastern commercial district. In the busy neighborhood, peddlers dye fabric in large vats on the street side. Wheels, tires and brightly colored rickshaw panels clutter the sidewalks outside repair shops.

    Kasi graduated with a degree in English literature from Baluchistan University, the best school in the province. His friends don't recall him being an overly religious person and certainly not hardline.

    ``He was emotional and sensitive, but at the same time he was touchy and took offense easily,'' said one former schoolmate who asked not to be named. ``He was basically a shy person, especially when he talked to girls. But he always showed respect to elders.''

    In a recent prison interview, Kasi said his attack wasn't related to terrorism but ``was in retaliation against U.S. policies in the Middle East and its support of Israel.'' Killed in the shooting were CIA communications worker Frank Darling, 28, and CIA analyst and physician Lansing Bennett, 66.

    Kasi also said that the Sept. 11 attacks in America ``were totally wrong'' because they targeted civilians.

    Although there is hope in Quetta for an appeal to his death sentence, there is a sense of frustration that the execution may be part of a politically driven campaign against Muslims

    ``As a Muslim I am not without hope, but we don't have any hope or expectation from the American government,'' tribal chief Kasi said.


    GZ
 
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