Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh had an emotional reunion with his family members, who met him on Thursday in a jail in Lahore for the first time in 18 years.
After receiving permission from the Home Department of Punjab province, Sarabjit's wife Sukhpreet Kaur, his daughters Swapandeep and Poonam, his sister Dalbir Kaur and her husband Baldev Singh went to the Kot Lakhpat jail to meet him at about 5 pm (local time).
Sarabjit was sentenced to death for alleged involvement in four bomb attacks in Punjab province in 1990 that killed 14 people. His April one execution was deferred for 30 days by President Pervez Musharraf so that Pakistan's new government could review his case following an appeal for clemency from India.
Ahead of the meeting, prison officials said Sarabjit's kin would be allowed to spend at least an hour with him. They pointed out that the prison superintendent had the discretion to allow them to spend an additional 30 minutes.
Sarabjit's family brought with them special food that he was fond of. Dalbir Kaur was carrying 18 'rakhis' one for each year that her brother has been away from India.
Dalbir and Sukhpreet have also said they would try to meet Premier Yousuf Raza Gillani and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif to take up Sarabjit's case with them and to seek clemency for him.
However, Sarabjit's kin have been issued visas valid for seven days that allow them to visit only Lahore and Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak.
Pakistan's former human rights minister Ansar Burney said he was sending fresh mercy petitions asking for Sarabjit's death sentence to be converted to life imprisonment as there were several loopholes in his conviction.
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