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Burney gets death threats for taking up Sarabjit's case

Source: PTI
April 24, 2008 16:35 IST
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Pakistan's former human rights minister Ansar Burney said on Thursday that he would send a mercy petition on behalf of Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh to President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani.

Reacting to a statement by Musharraf's spokesman that no mercy petition for Sarabjit is currently pending with the presidency, Burney said he would make sure the plea for clemency is hand-delivered to the president and the prime minister. "I am asking them to consider Sarabjit's case on the basic issues of human rights and justice," Burney said in Karachi.

Sarabjit is currently on death row for his alleged involvement in bomb blasts in Pakistan's Punjab province in 1990. Burney also said he had contacted officials in the home department of Punjab province to arrange a meeting between Sarabjit, currently being held in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail, and his family which had arrived in Pakistan on Wednesday.

Burney, one of Pakistan's leading rights activists and a member of the advisory committee of the UN Human Rights Council, said he was seeking clemency for Sarabjit as there were several loopholes in the case against him.

He pointed out that Sarabjit was not named in any of the FIRs registered in connection with the four bomb blasts he was accused of allegedly carrying out and he had not been caught red-handed. His trial by a Pakistani court was not proper, he said.

Burney also said he was being subjected to a "trial by media" and receiving death threats for taking up Sarabjit's case.  "I am even being being threatened with suicide attacks. No arrangements have been made for my security even though I am a member of the UN advisory committee. But what have I done that is so wrong?" Burney said.

He said he would continue to try to get justice for Sarabjit.

Meanwhile, Sarabjit's family, his sister Dalbir Kaur and her husband Baldev Singh arrived in Pakistan on Wednesday to meet him and to urge the Pakistan government to release him. They have been given seven-day visas to visit Nankana Sahib and Lahore.

The Pakistan government claims Sarabjit is Manjit Singh, who carried out bomb attacks in Punjab province in 1990. Sarabjit's family denies he is a spy and insists he accidentally strayed into Pakistani territory.

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