A BLACKBURN man who faces life imprisonment for a hitman killing has begged his family to pray for him as he tries to cope with life behind bars.

In weekly letters to his six children who live with their mother in Holland Street, Manzoor Qadar has also spoken of his love for his family.

Qadar, 41, was found guilty in April during a trial at the Federal Court in Brooklyn of murdering his cousin, Shaukat Parvez, during a vicious street shooting.

The last time he saw his family and children aged 17, 14, 13, 12, 7 and 5 was at court.

He has been held since his extradition from England last year at an FBI-run Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn.

In letters to his family signed from 'daddy', he talks of a rigid training fitness programme but no other distractions as he contemplates a life in relative isolation.

One hand-made birthday card to his daughter said: "Though I am far across the ocean, deep in another land, questioning through some great ordeal.

"Yet still I seek your hand and I know that you are standing just waiting for me."

He also asks the children to imagine he is working for a charity in Pakistan instead of being in prison.

"Just think I have been given £5 million to build a town the size of Blackburn in Pakistan. The town is for poor people and homeless, an orphanage as well as a children's home, an animal shelter and a factory. This has been my dream since 1980."

Playfights with the children and trips to Pizza Hut restaurant are listed as favourite things he misses the most in prison.

Qadar, who formerly worked as a nurse at Queen's Park Hospital denied the shooting and his family still protest his innocence.

According to US Probation documents submitted before the courts, Manzoor was caught up in a saga over an arranged marriage involving his cousin.

Parvez secretly married the daughter of Malik Rahmat who had already betrothed her to another man. Desperate to keep the family honour, Rahmat is said to have conspired to kill three people and called upon Manzoor to help find his cousin, Parvez.

Manzoor's wife of 19 years, Fehmeeda, 39, said: "Every day the children want to hug him and kiss the photographs we have of him but they do not understand what is happening.

"He has not been treated as he should because of the way he looks. He says he is treated like a terrorist."

Manzoor calls home twice a day to speak to his family at a cost of a dollar a minute. He asks the children to "look after" his wife and "give her all the support she needs".

Malik Rahmat, said to have offered £41,000 for the killing, is still at large.