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Indian on death row in Pak to be reunited with family

Source: PTI
March 03, 2008 15:37 IST
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Indian national Kashmir Singh, pardoned by President Pervez Musharraf after being on death row in Pakistani prisons for 35 years, will be reunited with his family at the Wagah land border on Tuesday.

"Kashmir Singh will be a free man by this afternoon and my wife and I will accompany him to Wagah, where he will be reunited with his family at 11 am tomorrow," caretaker human rights minister Ansar Burney told PTI in Islamabad on Monday.

Singh, currently in Lahore's Central Jail, will be handed over to Syed Fahad Burney, the minister's son and acting chairman of the Ansar Burney Trust, on Monday afternoon after the completion of certain formalities for his release.

A senior official of the Indian High Commission has gone to Lahore to hand over Singh's travel documents, officials said.

"Singh will be handed over by the jail authorities to Fahad Burney. As the Indian High Commission has agreed to hand over the travel documents to Singh in Lahore, we will take him directly from there to Wagah," the minister said.

Following the approval of Singh's mercy petition by Musharraf last week, the order for the prisoner's release was issued by the interior ministry on Saturday.

Singh's wife Paramjit Kaur, who has been struggling for his release since his arrest in 1973 and his subsequent conviction on espionage charges, will greet him on the Indian side of the border with family members and friends.

Fahad Burney said many of Singh's friends and-well wishers in India had already started gathering at the border in anticipation of his return.

The Ansar Burney Trust, one of Pakistan's most prominent rights organisations, is now working for the release of other Indian nationals in Pakistani prisons, particularly fishermen.

Fahad Burney said the Trust was searching for Indian prisoners of war in Pakistani jails. "We are also working for the release of Pakistani nationals from Indian jails," he said.

Singh was traced by Ansar Burney during a visit to Lahore's Central Jail as part of his work for prisoners' rights and jail reforms. A mercy petition sent by the minister was accepted by Musharraf, who pardoned Singh and allowed him to return to India.

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