Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has been urged by a leading human rights activist visiting the UAE to suspend capital punishment until he reforms the judicial system. The call comes in the wake of a Pakistani court's decision to sentence a 33-year-old woman to death.

Rubina, found guilty of killing another women in the Sargodha district of the Punjab Province, is awaiting her execution, scheduled for July 17, after her appeals were rejected by the Lahore High Court and former Pakistani President Rafiq Tarar.

She is the ninth women to get the death penalty in Pakistan. Ghulam Fatima was the first to be hanged in 1956, in Mianwali district. The last death sentences were carried out in 1985, when two sisters Munawara and Sanaran were executed in Jehlum district.

"Rubina's case is very strange, it was an ordinary case of murder but was tried in a special anti-terrorism court which is not fair," said Ansar Burney, advocate and international human rights activist and chairman of the Ansar Burney Welfare Trust.

Burney, who is visiting UAE, said his organisation has sent several mercy petitions to President Musharraf requesting him to at least convert Rubina's sentence to life imprisonment. He criticised the judicial system of the country, saying that it needs immediate reforms as influential and rich people are exploiting it.

"Reforms and suspension of the capital punishments becomes a need of the hour especially after a Supreme Court of Pakistan's recent ruling against two senior judges who were find taking benefits from the former government for making favourable judgments."

Burney claimed false witnesses and evidence can easily be bought in Pakistan and there are a large number of occurrences in which innocent people are entrapped in fabricated cases by rich and influential people.

"I believe General Musharraf should take an immediate note of corruption in Pakistan's judicial system because it the the only institution that can help in restoring a corruption-free society based on justice, peace and the rule of law in the country."

Burney said Rubina had suffered a lot during the police investigation. First her husband divorced her leaving Rubina and her nine-year-old daughter alone. The seven month pregnant Rubina also had miscarriage. "In this situation, if she was hanged who will take care of her innocent daughter?"

Burney said he is not against punishing criminal, but under the present system all capital punishments should be suspended.