As the family of Sarabjit Singh, sentenced to death for his alleged involvement in explosions in Pakistan, pleaded for clemency, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid has said that under Islamic law he can be pardoned only by the relatives of the blast victims.
Singh's Lahore-based lawyer said he would file a review petition in the Supreme Court which upheld his client's death sentence recently.
PM to speak to Pak Prez on Sarabjit issue
Pakistan claims that Singh was an agent from India's Research and Analysis Wing who was involved in the 1990 bomb blasts in Lahore.
"As per the Pakistan Islamic law, only families of those who died in the bomb blasts can give him pardon and no other person. This is my understanding of the Islamic law. The President cannot pardon the accused," Rashid told the Press Trust of India.
He said if the victims' families did not forgive him, "nobody else can give him any relief".
Rashid's comments came a day after Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri said an appeal for clemency can be made to the President. Singh's lawyer R A Hameed said, "after inspecting the judgement of the Supreme Court, I will prepare the case from the legal aspects, sectional aspects and all other aspects of the case which has not been considered in the review petition."
Suspected Indian spy's family hopes he will be pardoned
On India's request for consular access to Singh, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Naeem Khan said no decision had yet been taken.
The Pakistan foreign office had on Tuesday rejected the contention of Singh's family that it was a case of mistaken identity.
"Sarabjit Singh himself admitted before the court that he has been changing his name sometimes as Sarabjit Singh and sometimes as Manjit Singh, therefore, there is no question of mistaken identity," a foreign ministry official said.
Singh was arrested in 1990 under charges of espionage and terrorism, he said.
No mistaken identity, Pak says about suspected spy
"It is now 15 years since he was arrested and this question (of identity) was never raised earlier."
After his arrest, Singh was accused of carrying out bomb blasts in Lahore, Kasur and Faisalabad, he said. Singh also "admitted" before the court that he had been "involved" in bomb blasts and terrorist activities in Pakistan. He was provided legal assistance to fight his case in the courts of law, the official claimed.
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