Delhi lost its cool on the murder of its diplomat in Birmingham and overran all these considerations and reacted to hang Maqbool Bhat on 11 February 1984. He was buried in Tihar jail and his mortal remains continue to remain as ‘prisoner’. Maqbool Bhat as a student, as a politician, as a one who dared to cross the line of control, as a prisoner , as a friend, as a journalist and as a nationalist of his times has continued to inspire masses, in particular the youth of Kashmir. Political parties, in particular, Plebiscite Front (PF), National Liberation Front (NLF), Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and others exalt him as a symbol to the highest point in their admiration.
Afzal as a state subject does not seem to have received appropriate attention from the State Government, from President of India under Article 72 (1) (c) which empower the President to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment, or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence in all cases where the law provides for a death sentence and from the Governor under Article 161.
Afzal’s execution may seem fit to satiate the feelings of revenge but justice is not about revenge. There is difference between asking a full pardon and a petition praying that death sentence be commuted to life imprisonment. On balance one could satisfactorily state that hanging Afzal would neither serve the cause of justice nor repair the loss suffered by the families during the attack on Parliament. Our condolences go out to Afzal’s wife Tabassum.