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India asks Pakistan to grant clemency to Sarabjit

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
March 18, 2008 12:48 IST
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External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said that he hoped Pakistan would act with compassion in Sarabjit Singh's case, presently facing death sentence in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore on April 1.

The statement was made after Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit Singh met Rahul Gandhi on Monday and sought the government's intervention to save the life of her brother.

"We appeal to the government of Pakistan to treat Sarabjit Singh's case with clemency on humanitarian grounds," Mukherjee said in his one-page statement read out by him soon after Question Hour in Parliament.

He said the Pakistani government had not officially communicated about the issuance of black warrants against Sarabjit Singh. "We have received no formal intimation of this (rejection of his mercy petition by the president of Pakistan) from the government of Pakistan," Mukherjee said.

Intervening in the discussion, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa senior leader of Akali Dal wanted to know what the government of India is doing in saving the life of an individual who is being given the death sentence wrongly.

"I have heard the Pakistani minister saying that they could consider the matter if some of their men are released," he said.

The entire House shared the sentiments of Sarabjit's family and agreed to try to do whatever is possible to bring him home.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra said the case was against Manjit Singh and not against Sarabjit.

Members wanted a resolution to be passed that should be given to the newly elected government.

Gurudas Dasgupta appealed to the newly elected members of Pakistan's National Assembly to show a gesture of peace and goodwill and release Sarabjit and not let the Pakisani dictator decide the fate of an innocent individual.

The Punjab State Assembly passed a resolution unanimously in favour of saving the life of Sarabit and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to do whatever needs to be done.

Priyaranjan Dasmunsi said it would not be proper to bid the government to pass the resolutions.

"I will convey the sentiments of the House to the prime minister who is negotiating his matter every minute with the Pakistani government," he said.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi