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Sarabjit to be hanged on April 1

Islamabad, March 16
Indian national Sarabjit Singh, condemned to death for his alleged involvement in four bomb blasts in Pakistan in 1990, will be hanged in a prison in Lahore on April 1.

The death warrant for Sarabjit was received by the Kot Lakhpat jail authorities in Lahore where he has been held for the past 17 years and he will be executed on April 1, Urdu newspaper Daily Express reported today.

The mercy petition of Sarabjit, who Pakistan claims is Manjit Singh, was rejected by President Pervez Musharraf on March 3.

Sarabjit’s mercy petition was sent to Musharraf along with that of Indian prisoner Kashmir Singh, who was freed after spending 35 years on the death row in Pakistani jails.

There was no official confirmation of the development.

Sarabjit was sentenced to death for his alleged involvement in bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan that killed about 14 persons. His family denies he was a spy as claimed by Pakistan and insists he accidentally strayed into Pakistani territory. In his mercy petition sent to Musharraf, Sarabjit had sought his release on the grounds that he was innocent and wrongly implicated.

The petition was rejected by the President after “thorough consideration” as the allegations against him “were proved and he was awarded capital punishment by court”, official sources said.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court, too, had rejected Sarabjit’s plea for clemency in March, 2006.

Following the rejection of Sarabjit’s mercy petition by the President, the interior ministry had informed the government of Punjab province to take steps to carry out his death sentence. — PTI



Pall of gloom descends on Bhikhiwind village
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

In this file picture Dalbir Kaur shows the photo of her brother Sarabjit Singh
In this file picture Dalbir Kaur shows the photo of her brother Sarabjit Singh. — AFP photo

Amritsar, March 16
A pall of gloom descended on the native village of Sarabjit Singh, Bhikhiwind, following the breaking of the news that he will be hanged to death in Pakistan on April 1 even as his inconsolable wife Sukhprit Kaur and daughter Poonam sat glued to the television to hear the news.

A large number of villagers thronged the house of Sarabjit to console the family members. Dalbir Kaur, sister of the condemned Indian prisoner, who has been camping in New Delhi to meet Indian government officials , said the news came as a “bombshell”, as she was expecting the release of her brother like Kashmir Singh. However, Sukhprit Kaur said the government of India should immediately take up the matter with Pakistan because Sarabjit Singh is a victim of mistaken identity. She is, however, keeping her fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, Paksitan’s human rights minister Ansar Burney, who was instrumental in the release of Kashmir Singh, feigned ignorance about the rejection of clemency appeal by Sarabjit Singh and his probable hanging on April 1. The grief-stricken family of Sarabjit Singh said it was expecting his release because Ansar Burney had assured them that he would take up the case with the President of Pakistan.

Punjab’s public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia had also spoken to Burney for ensuring the release of Sarabjit Singh when he went to the zero line at Attari border at the time of the release of Kashmir Singh.

The development has also saddened the family members of other Indian prisoners, including Kirpal Singh, languishing in Pakistan jails. Kirpal Singh, who is in Kot Lakhpat Jail of Lahore, has been facing death sentence by the Pakistan military court on spying charges. He was arrested in 1992.

Dalbir Kaur will be meeting Rahul Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders tomorrow in a last-ditch effort.

She has sent all relevant documents, including ration card and voter list, which showed that he was not Manjit Singh who was involved in bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan that killed 14 persons.



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