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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Two charged with Sarabjit's murder in Pakistan

PTI  Lahore, January 18, 2014
First Published: 13:15 IST(18/1/2014) | Last Updated: 18:49 IST(18/1/2014)

Two prisoners on death row in Pakistan have been indicted for the murder of Indian national Sarabjit Singh at the Kot Lakhpat Jail last year.

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An additional district and sessions judge held the trial at the Central Jail in Kot Lakhpat on Friday and formally charged Amer Sarfraz, alias Tamba, and Muddassar Bashir.

Copies of chargesheet were given to both the accused during the proceedings. Judge Syed Anjum Raza Syed adjourned the hearing till January 20 and directed the prosecution to produce witnesses.

The accused had allegedly attacked 49-year-old Sarabjit in April last year. Sarabjit, who had sustained severe injuries, including a fractured skull, died on May 2.

The hearing was held amid tight security, a jail official said, adding that the Kot Lakhpat police had completed their investigations in this connection.

The police will produce witnesses - both Indian and Pakistani inmates - who have already recorded their statements in the court, the official said.

Amir and Mudda had earlier confessed to crime before a single-member judicial commission which was constituted to probe the murder.

They reportedly told the investigators that they had attacked Sarabjit to avenge his alleged role in carrying out bomb attacks in Lahore. Sarabjit was convicted for alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province in 1990 that killed 14 people.

Sarabjit's family, however, had been claiming that he was a victim of "mistaken identity" and had inadvertently strayed across the border.

His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf.

In 2008, the Pakistan People's Party-led government had put off Sarabjit's execution for an indefinite period.

Reacting to the news coming from Pakistan, Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur said the case must be investigated properly as more inmates were involved in the attack on her brother.

"Amer Sarfraz and Muddassar Bashir are the ones who were threatening Sarabjit. But I am sure there were more people involved and action must be taken against them too," said Dalbir Kaur.

She also demanded that Pakistan must allow their family to visit Lahore and see the proceedings.

(With HT inputs)

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