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Don't hang Sarabjit: Pakistan leader

By A Correspondent in Islamabad
August 27, 2005 13:01 IST
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A prominent Pakistani politician has pleaded that Sarabjit Singh, the Indian convicted of spying, must not be hanged. He says carrying out the sentence can become a 'national embarrassment' for Pakistan.

Writing in Pakistan's The News in an opinion piece titled 'Why Sarabjit Singh must not be hanged', Senator Farhatullah Babar of the Pakistan People's Party has likened Sarabjit's case to that of Alfred Dreyfus -- a Jewish captain in the French Army who was banished in 1894 after being accused of being a spy but was allowed to return home in 1906 when the charge was found to be untrue.

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'We may have serious differences with the Indians but it must not persuade us to hang every Indian at the drop of a hat. The Sarabjit Singh trial must not be allowed to become our national embarrassment as was the Dreyfus trial in France. He must not be hanged,' Babar, a close aide of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto, said.

Besides, there have been innumerable cases in Pakistan where people have been executed on charges that were later found to be false, wrote Babar, a member of the Defence Committee of the Senate.

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'If the Indian convict is really a case of mistaken identity it would be a gross miscarriage of  justice if he is hanged and many will not be able to come to terms with the trauma. If the convict is really the alleged agent Manjit Singh, it would still be sensible to commute the death sentence,' Babar wrote.

Meanwhile, Sarabjit's legal defence team is likely to file a review petition against the death sentence in the Pakistan Supreme Court on Monday.

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A Correspondent in Islamabad