External affairs minister SM Krishna on Wednesday welcomed the steps taken by the Pakistani authorities to ensure the release of another Indian prisoner named Surjeet Singh.
But he added that New Delhi has consistently urged the government of Pakistan on several occasions to take a sympathetic and humanitarian view in the case of Sarabjit Singh.
"I have seen media reports about the impending release of Surjeet Singh, son of Sucha Singh from Pakistan. I welcome this decision and further renew our request to the President of Pakistan to release Sarabjit Singh, who is serving a death sentence and has been in custody for over two decades," said Krishna.
"As you are aware, the government of India has consistently urged the government of Pakistan on several occasions to take a sympathetic and humanitarian view in the case of Sarabjit Singh," he added.
Krishna further made an appeal to the Pakistani government to release all Indian nationals, who have completed their prison term or are serving jail sentences.
"I also appeal to the government of Pakistan to release all Indian nationals, who have completed their prison term and request the release of all other Indians, who are serving jail sentences in Pakistan prisons," he said.
Hours after reports emerged that Pakistan was to free Sarabjit Singh, the presidential spokesman clarified last night that the authorities had taken steps for the release of another Indian prisoner named Surjeet Singh.
Surjeet Singh, currently being held in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore, has been in Pakistani captivity for over 30 years. He was captured near the border with India on charges of spying during the era of military ruler Zia-ul-Haq.
It was earlier reported that Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has converted Sarabjit Singh's death sentence to life imprisonment and directed authorities to release him if he had completed his prison term.
49-year-old Sarabjit, who has spent 21 years on death row, is currently being held at Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail.
Sarabjit was condemned to death for his involvement in a string of bombings in Punjab in 1990. Last month he had filed a fresh clemency appeal to President Zardari.