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Pakistan grants consular access to Sarabjit

By K J M Varma in Islamabad
Last updated on: August 26, 2005 11:26 IST
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Pakistan on Friday granted consular access to Sarabjit Singh, sentenced to death for his alleged involvement in bomb blasts in Lahore.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Naeem Khan told PTI in Islamabad that the Indian High Commission is being informed about the decision to grant consular access to Singh housed in Khot Lakhpat jail in Punjab province.

"Permission for consular access has been granted as requested by India," Khan said adding, the Indian High Commission can get in touch with the authorities in Islamabad to work out the dates for meeting Singh. 

The Indian High Commission in Islamabad had sought consular access to Singh, whose death sentence was upheld by the Pakistan Supreme Court last week.

Sarabjit Singh, who Pakistan claims is Manjeet Singh, was sentenced to death for allegedly being a Research & Analysis Wing agent and his involvement in bomb blasts in Lahore in 1990.

Reacting to the announcement, Indian High Commission officials expressed disappointment that no dates have been given for access to Sarabjit.

"It is normal procedure that dates will be mentioned in response to consular access. Failure to mention dates means more delay," a senior Indian diplomat said.

He said India was also disappointed over Pakistan's silence about a similar request for consular access to 107 other Indian detainees.

The announcement came hours before Pakistan's Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs was to meet later in the day to discuss Sarabjit's case.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid M Kasuri and Foreign Secretary Riaz Muhammad Khan were expected to brief the Committee led by influential Pakistan Muslim League-Qaid-e-Azam Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed.

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K J M Varma in Islamabad
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