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Sarabjit case: Pak wants 'transfer of offenders' pact with India

Source: PTI
May 14, 2008 16:26 IST
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Pakistan's Foreign Ministry has suggested that there should be a treaty with India for 'transfer of offenders' if death row convict Sarabjit Singh has to be released.

A high-level meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday also discussed a proposal to strike a deal with India to exchange Sarabjit for all Pakistani prisoners detained in India, local media reported on Wednesday, quoting official sources.

The new government's proposal to convert all death sentences to life imprisonment was reviewed with special reference to Sarabjit's case during the meeting, attended by senior officials of the ministries of foreign affairs, interior, law and human rights and chaired by Additional Interior Secretary Zafeer Abbassi.

Foreign Ministry officials told the meeting that even if Sarabjit is given amnesty and released, he could not be handed over to Indian authorities as Pakistan had not signed any treaty with India for the 'transfer of offenders'.

They said that the government should sign such a treaty with India if it wanted to release Sarabjit.

Abbassi asked the Foreign Office to "consider international charters and conventions relevant to the issue in case the government decided either way."

The meeting also sought a report on the legal aspects of Sarbjit's release from the Law Division within 24 hours.

Sources said that the report would be sent to the Prime Minister and the President.

The Interior Ministry opposed commuting his death penalty to life imprisonment, saying it could 'encourage subversive activities' and goes against the country's ideology.

Sarabjit was sentenced to death for alleged involvement in four bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990. Pakistani authorities put off his hanging indefinitely last month.

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