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Sarabjit issue likely to figure in Indo-Pak talks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 28
Terrorism and drug trafficking would be the main focus of the Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan which begins here tomorrow in the midst of efforts to release Sarabjit Singh, who is facing death sentence.

Pakistanís Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah, who is leading an 11-member delegation to the two-day talks with his Indian counterpart V.K. Duggal, has said that he will like to discuss the issue of the prisoners languishing in each otherís country.

During the talks, the Indian side could raise the issue of the release of Sarabjit Singh, as his family claims him to be innocent and his trial resulting from mistaken identity.

The Indian side will raise security concerns and urge the Pakistani side to widen cooperation in combating the menace of terrorism in deference to the objectives set out by leaders of both countries in the joint statement issued in New Delhi during the visit of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in April last, an official statement said today.

It said efforts would be made to expedite the finalisation and signing of the MoU between the two agencies to have a regular institutional mechanism in place on drug control matters.

The need for such an MoU was agreed upon by both sides at the last Home Secretary-level talks held in Islamabad in August last year.

This is the third round of Home-Secretary level talks, which form part of the ongoing Indo-Pak Composite Dialogue process.

As part of the Composite Dialogue process, the talks were earlier held in Islamabad during which India had asked Pakistan to dismantle the terror infrastructure on its territory and fulfil the promise made by General Musharraf in the January 6, 2004, joint statement.

Official sources said a joint statement was likely to be issued at the conclusion of the two-day parleys on Tuesday.

In the past two rounds, India had consistently raised the issue of use of the Pakistani territory for fomenting terrorism and drug trafficking in South Asia.

India has also asked Islamabad to dismantle the terror infrastructure as reports indicated that they still existed despite the earlier assurances.

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Canada rights group to file plea for Sarabjitís release
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Members of Sarabjitís family with SAD leader Sukhbir Singh Badal  who called on them at Bhikiwind on Sunday
Members of Sarabjitís family with SAD leader Sukhbir Singh Badal (centre) who called on them at Bhikiwind on Sunday. ó A Tribune photograph 

Bhikiwind, August 28
Canadian Parliament has given its nod to South Asian Human Rights Group (SAHRG), Canada chapter, to file a fresh petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan to save Sarabjit Singh, who is awaiting execution of death sentence.

Talking to The Tribune on the phone from Canada, Mr Sheetal Das Kaler, secretary, SAHRG, said a delegation of the association would shortly meet Gen Parvez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, to urge him to grant clemency to Sarabjit. He said he had already submitted all required documentary proofs to the Pakistani authorities and the Supreme Court of Pakistan through his lawyer, pleading innocence of Sarabjit.

Meanwhile, the SAD (Badal) today arranged a bhog of ďsehaj pathĒ and held ďardasĒ, praying the Almighty to save the life of Sarabjit who had already underwent jail term of 15 years despite his not being involved in any activity of violence.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, General Secretary, SAD, also met the members of Sarabjitís family at his residence. He said his party would submit a joint representation, signed by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members to General Musharraf urging him clemency for Sarabjit.

Mr Bikram Singh Majithia, Youth Akali leader, Mr Virsa Singh Valtoha, former member of Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board, Prof Sarchand Singh and Mr R. S. Bolaria were also present.

They said the SAD would provide all legal and moral support to the family of Sarabjit.

Mr Badal said the SAD took up the case of Sarabjit during the NDA regime in 2003. The SAD General Secretary had written a letter to Mr Vinod Khanna, the then State Minister of External Affairs when Ms Dalbir Kaur (sister of Sarabjit) and Mr Sheetal Kaler of the SAHRG met him in New Delhi in August, 2003.

The SAD would continue its efforts to secure release of Sarabjit and other Indians, including prisoners of war, languishing in various jails of Pakistan.

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