Indian death row prisoner Sarbjit Singh, who is languishing in a Pakistani jail for the last 18 years, has got a new lawyer, days after the Supreme Court in Islamabad dismissed his appeal against capital punishment.
Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur on Saturday said she "no longer had faith" in Rana Abdul Hamid, who was representing him till now, questioning the lawyer's non-appearance during the two recent hearings of the review petition challenging the death sentence handed out to the Indian in 1991 for alleged involvement in four blasts in Pakistan.
Sarabjit's new lawyer Owis Sheikh said it was due to Hamid's "negligence" that the review petition was dismissed ex-parte and said he will file a fresh petition in the court.
"I'm filing a review petition --his restoration application before the Supreme Court. This is one remedy available. If this is rejected, then the only remedy available is to file a mercy petition before the President of Pakistan," Sheikh said in Islamabad.
The lawyer said carrying out the death sentence will "badly affect" relations between Pakistan and India.
"It will create a good atmosphere if he is pardoned. This is a very crucial case, internationally known.... The President is keen to create good atmosphere and promote peace with India," Sheikh said, adding he was optimistic that the capital punishment will not be carried out.
Hamid, however, claimed that he was still Sarabjit's lawyer. He said his tenure as Additional Advocate General of Punjab province ended on June 26 and he was again representing the Indian prisoner.