Prince Charles meets Pakistani leaders, raises case of Briton on death row

Britain's Prince Charles met Pakistan's leaders on Monday to praise this country's counterterrorism efforts, discuss Muslim-Christian relations and raise the case of a Briton on death row, officials said.

Charles' five-day trip his first to this South Asian nation has been billed by British and Pakistan officials as a bid to boost bilateral cultural, economic and education relations as well as promote Charles' efforts to strengthen interfaith dialogue.

But the royal visit, which started with Charles arriving with his wife, Camilla, in the capital Islamabad late Sunday, is also expected to focus on efforts backed by the Prince of Wales to seek clemency for a British man of Pakistani origin who is on death row in a Pakistani prison.

Charles raised the issue of Mirza Tahir Hussain, who has been convicted in the 1988 killing of a taxi driver, with Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf as the pair walked to the prince's car following their official meeting, a senior Pakistani diplomat said.

"Charles stopped and asked the president about the issue (of Hussain) and Musharraf told him that we are already looking into this case and our effort will be to handle it in a way that satisfies both sides," said the diplomat, who overheard the exchange and spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

The official did not elaborate.

British officials have been tightlipped on whether the Prince of Wales planned to discuss with Pakistani leaders efforts to free Hussain, 36, who has been in Pakistani custody since his 1988 arrest.

Hussain was scheduled to be executed on Nov. 1 in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, a garrison city near Islamabad, but Musharraf has delayed the execution until the end of the year, reports AP.

During their formal meeting, Charles also praised Musharraf for Pakistan's efforts to counter terrorism, said British High Commissioner Mark Lyall Grant, who attended the meeting.

According to a separate foreign ministry statement, Musharraf informed the Prince "on the strategy and measures taken to control terrorism, militancy and extremism in the areas bordering Afghanistan."