Friday, May 2, 2008
Sarabjit’s execution delayed indefinitely
Lahore, May 2The Pakistan government has delayed the execution of Sarabjit Singh till further orders, a jail official said today.
Sarabjit Singh, whose family say he is the victim of mistaken identity, was to be hanged on April 1 after being convicted of involvement in 1990 blasts that killed four persons in Lahore.
But President Pervez Musharraf, who had earlier rejected a mercy petition, delayed his execution until April 30. It was further delayed again.
Speaking to AFP today, Malik Mubashir Ahmad Khan, superintendent of Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail, read out an interior ministry order, which said: "The execution of Indian national, Sarabjit Singh is stayed till further order." The stay of execution, which jail authorities received today, came days after Sarabjit's wife, daughters and sister visited Lahore to met him in prison.
The Supreme Court had earlier rejected an appeal against Sarabjit's death penalty.
Pakistan maintains Sarabjit was an Indian spy, but he and his family say he is a farmer who accidentally strayed across the border into Pakistan while drunk. He has been in jail in Pakistan since 1990.
His family say he was confused with another man named Manjit Singh, whom Pakistan blames for a series of bombings in Lahore.
Earlier, Pakistan’s leading human rights activist Ansar Burney said hanging Sarabjit Singh would be tantamount to “murder of humanity” as he had been convicted without “any substantial evidence”.
Burney, a former minister for human rights, who has been at the forefront of a campaign to commute Sarabjit’s death sentence to life imprisonment, has said there were several legal loopholes in his conviction.
Hanging Sarabjit would be tantamount to “a murder of humanity” as he had been convicted without “any substantial evidence”, Burney told reporters.
“I cannot allow the government to hang Sarabjit Singh on the basis that he is a non-Muslim and non-Pakistani, and because of pressure from extremist fundamentalist groups,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had told Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande some days before she died that he favoured clemency for Sarabjit Singh, her aide claimed today. The telephonic conversation between Musharraf and Deshpande took place a fortnight ago when she called the President to plead for Sarabjit’s life. — Agencies

Monday, April 21, 2008

Burney files plea for clemency to Sarabjit
Ansar BurneyIslamabad, April 21
Making a last ditch effort to save Sarabjit Singh, former Pakistani human rights minister Ansar Burney today petitioned President Pervez Musharraf seeking clemency for the death row prisoner, saying his “biggest crime may have been his Indian nationality”.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Please sign this petition

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.