Sarabjit's family distraught, lawyer says wait till August | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Sarabjit's family distraught, lawyer says wait till August

delhi Updated: Jun 29, 2012 00:23 IST
HT Correspondents

Two days after the confusion over the release of Sarabjit Singh - a death row inmate in Pakistan on terrorism charges - his family members met external affairs minister SM Krishna and sought his intervention in the matter. According to Owais Shaikh, lawyer for both Sarabjit and the man who was actually released on Thursday, Surjeet Singh, there is some hope for Sarabjit's release in August.

Pakistan had done a flip-flop late on Tuesday after announcing that the death sentence of Sarabjit has been commuted and he would be released. On Thursday, his family held a protest in Delhi's Jantar Mantar.

Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur said Krishna had told her the matter has been raised with Pakistan several times and India will again take it up during the foreign secretary level talks next month. "He said India will not let Sarabjit stay in Pakistan jail," she said.

Dalbir, who has been leading the campaign for Sarabjit's release, said: "Pakistan has played a cruel joke on us and we are again requesting Asif Ali Zardari (Pakistan president) to release Sarabjit."

Sarabjit has been accused of planting two bombs in Pakistan which claimed 14 lives. His family claims he had crossed over to Pakistan in an inebriated state and was arrested.

At Wagah border while Surjeet was being handed over to the Indian side, lawyer Owais Shaikh expressed hope that the Pakistan government would release Sarabjit by August 14 -Pakistan's independence day - as a goodwill gesture.

On Wednesday, Pakistan interior minister Rehman Malik had said the government was looking into the petition by Sarabjit. The case, he had said, was being considered on humanitarian grounds.

Shaikh said he was hopeful of progress in Sarabjit's case. Also, if the petition was rejected by the president, "we would file another appeal", he said.

Sarabjit, Shaikh said, cannot be executed while the Pakistan People's Party was in power because the party is against capital punishment since its founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged on trumped up charges.