There is still a ray of hope for Indian national Sarabjit Singh, who is awaiting the gallows in a Pakistani jail after being convicted in a serial bomb blast case that claimed 14 lives in Lahore and Multan in 1990.
Acting on a petition filed by Sarabjit’s sister Dalbir Kaur, the Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Ministry of External Affairs and the Union Home Secretary. A bench of Justice B Sudershan Reddy and Justice SS Nijjar asked the Centre to spell out its stand.
Dalbir has sought a direction to the government to take “immediate and necessary” steps for the release of her brother who is languishing in Lahore's Kotlakhpat Central Jail for the last 21 years.
Arrested on August 28, 1990, by the Pakistan police, Sarabjit was awarded death by a Lahore anti-terrorism court in October 1991. The death sentence was upheld by the Lahore High Court and later by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2009.
Charging the government with failing to take appropriate steps for his release, Kaur said:
“It is the duty of the government of India to ensure and guarantee the fundamental rights of its citizens and take appropriate measures for early release of Sarabjit who was illegally detained by the government of Pakistan.”
Contending that Pakistani courts wrongly convicted Sarabjit, Dalbir said, "Sarabjit was not present at the time of the said incident.”
“The case, which was registered by the Pakistani authorities, was in the name of Manjeet Singh, alias Sarabjit Singh, son of Mohanga Singh, though he has no link with the said person as evident from the documents regarding the identity of Sarabjit Singh,” said Dalbir.