Convinced that death row convict Sarabjeet Singh is "innocent" and deserved to be released, former Pakistani Minister and noted human rights activist Ansar Burney on Friday demanded that India also consider release of all Pakistanis who had completed their jail terms as a reciprocative gesture.
After being deported unceremoniously in May this year from Indira Gandhi International Airport, Burney, an expert advisor to the United Nations Human Rights Council, said he was hopeful that he would be able to save the life of the Indian death-row prisoner now in a Lahore jail in Pakistan.
"I have already succeeded 50 per cent and I am still pressurizing my Government to convert his (Sarabjeet's) death sentence into life as in my opinion he is innocent as per his case records," Burney told PTI in an interview on the eve of his arrival here to receive the 'Mother Teresa Memorial International Award on Human Rights and Social Justice'.
Demanding a reciprocative gesture from Indian side also, he said,"I am confident that they will also consider my pleas to release those Pakistanis who have already completed their jail terms. There are 50 such Pakistanis in Amritsar jail alone, one of them Mohammad Asif had died of medical complications on October 11."
Burney, who led a successful campaign for the release of an Indian national , Kashmir Singh, from Pakistani Jail, will be coming to India tomorrow to receive Human Rights award.
He has been selected for his "historical distinction of having secured the release of more than 7,00,000 prisoners around the world especially from Asian and Gulf Countries," the citation from the organisation reads.
During his stay, he is likely to meet senior Indian leaders, including Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, to discuss the issue of Pakistani prisoners.