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Sarabjit's family to visit Pak with plea

Source: PTI
March 25, 2008 19:28 IST
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Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh's sister Dalbir Kaur said she along with other family members would soon visit Pakistan to meet her brother and submit a fresh petition seeking clemency for him.

"Caretaker Human Rights Minister of Pakistan Ansar Burney has expressed hope that the new government may consider mercy for Sarabjit on humanitarian grounds and also extended us an invitation to visit Pakistan to enable us to meet Sarabjit," Dalbir Kaur who was in Jalandhar to apply for passports told media persons.

Stating that the change of government in the neighbouring country had strengthened their hope for the release of Sarbajit, Kaur said she would go to the Pakistan High Commission to apply for the visas immediately after obtaining the passports.

Once in Pakistan, she would try to meet the newly sworn-in Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani, Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari, Ansar Burney and even seek an appointment with President Parvez Musharraf, Kaur said.

Revealing her plans to meet Pakistani prisoners lodged in Amritsar jail before leaving for Pakistan, Kaur said she would also meet other Indian prisoners besides her brother in Pakistan.

"I will also carry the statement of Saleem Shoukhat, an eye witness in the Lahore bomb blast case, who said that he cannot identify Sarabjit," Kaur said, adding that she would even meet the families of the bomb blast victims to seek the release of 'innocent' Sarabjit.

Sarabjit faces death sentence for his alleged involvement in the Lahore bomb blasts.

Sarabjit's sister, however, clarified that his family would not want his release in exchange for hardcore Pakistani terrorists.

"If one offers Sarabjit's release in exchange for a terrorist like Afzal Guru, responsible for the attack on Parliament, of course, we will not like it," she said.      

Reminded of Sarabjit's conviction in the Lahore bomb blasts case, Kaur hastened to say, "It is not Sarabjit, but Manjit Singh, who was convicted in Pakistan. It is a clear-cut case of mistaken identity."
Admitting that the statement of recently released Indian prisoner Kashmir Singh about Sarabjit did hamper his case, she said, "Kashmir should have realised the consequences of his statement for other Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails."
Asked whether she was satisfied with the efforts made by the Indian government for Sarabjit's release, Kaur said, it did not make a serious effort initially but did so after rejection of the mercy plea.

"The sincere efforts made by the Centre after rejection of the mercy plea have yielded good results in the form of deferment of Sarbjit's hanging," she said.

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