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Sarabjit to meet Pakistan's law minister

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
October 03, 2008 14:50 IST
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Pakistani Law Minister Farooq Naek will meet Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh on Monday to review his case, following the Indian government's appeal for clemency for him, official sources said, raising hopes of his release.

Sarabjit, 42, has been on death row since he was convicted for alleged involvement in four bomb attacks that killed 14 people in Punjab province in 1990. His family insists that he was wrongly convicted for the bombings.

The Sarabjit Case

Naek will meet Sarabjit at Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail on Monday and conduct a review of his case, official sources were quoted as saying by Geo News channel. Naek will also consider the Indian government's clemency appeal for Sarabjit, the sources said.

Sarabjit was originally set to be hanged on April 1 and his execution was deferred for 30 days by President Pervez Musharraf. This was done so that the new Pakistan People's Party-led government could review his case following India's appeal for clemency.

Hope dims for Sarabjit Singh

Pakistan's Supreme Court had earlier turned down Sarabjit's mercy petition. After Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani intervened in the matter, Pakistani authorities put off Sarabjit's execution till further orders.

Gilani announced a proposal to commute the death sentences of thousands of prisoners into life imprisonment on June 21 to mark the birth anniversary of slain PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto, but it is still not clear if the move would benefit Sarabjit.

Don't play dirty politics: Sarabjit's sister

In August, the government informed the Supreme Court that it is yet to take a final decision on the proposal to commute death sentences to life imprisonment. Several political parties and Islamic groups, including the Jamaat-e-Islami, have opposed any move to convert Sarabjit's death sentence into life imprisonment.

Pakistan stays execution of Sarabjit Singh

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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