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Pak minister wants life term, not death, for Sarabjit

Source: PTI
March 21, 2008 00:09 IST
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Pakistan's caretaker Human Rights Minister Ansar Burney has appealed to President Pervez Musharraf to convert the death sentence of Indian national Sarabjit Singh to life imprisonment on humanitarian grounds.

Burney sent an appeal for mercy to Musharraf on Wednesday to convert the death sentence of Sarabjit into life imprisonment on humanatarian grounds, as he has already spent 17 years in jail which is more than life imprisonment, a statement issued by the minister's office said.

Burney was personally involved in the release of Indian prisoner Kashmir Singh, who was pardoned and freed after spending 35 years on death row in Pakistani jails.

Musharraf on Wednesday deferred the hanging of Sarabjit, scheduled for April 1, by a month after receiving an appeal for clemency from the Indian government.

The breather for Sarabjit coincided with the release by India of Pakistani national Jamal Qureshi, who was arrested in India in October 2005 on charges of spying and possessing fake currency.

Qureshi was handed over to Pakistani authorities at the Wagah land border on Wednesday after being acquitted by a fast-track court in Uttar Pradesh.

Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur sent an appeal for clemency directly to Musharraf and requested him for permission to visit Pakistan to meet her brother in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail.

Sarabjit was sentenced to death in 1991 for his alleged involvement in four bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan that killed 14 people. His family denies he is a spy as claimed by Pakistan.

The mercy petition of Sarabjit, who Pakistan claims is Manjit Singh, was rejected by Musharraf on March 3.

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