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HindustanTimes Wed,27 Aug 2014

World

'Commute all death penalties to life term in Pak'
PTI
Lahore, April 19, 2008
First Published: 22:02 IST(19/4/2008)
Last Updated: 19:10 IST(27/4/2008)

The Pakistan government has forwarded a proposal to commute all death penalties into life imprisonment to President Pervez Musharraf but a decision is yet to be taken on these cases, including that of Indian national Sarabjit Singh.

Rehman Malik, advisor to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani on interior affairs, told reporters in Lahore on Saturday that a "summary" or official communication on commuting the death penalties to life sentences had been sent to the President.

However, the presidency has not yet made a final decision regarding the case of convicted persons like Sarabjit, he said after visiting the local headquarters of the Federal Investigation Agency that was attacked by two suicide bombers.

Malik made it clear that the government would not tolerate any act of terrorism. "Our policy is that we will not tolerate terrorism under any circumstances or in any form," he said.

Sarabjit's execution was deferred for 30 days by President Pervez Musharraf last month so that Pakistan's new government could review his case following an appeal for clemency from the Indian government. He was originally set to be hanged on April 1.

He was sentenced to death for alleged involvement in four bomb attacks in Punjab province in 1990 that killed 14 people. Sarabjit, currently being held in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail, on Saturday reiterated that he was innocent and that he had not committed the crimes he was convicted for.

Sarabjit, who Pakistan claims is Manjit Singh, was sentenced to death in 1991 by a Pakistani court.

His family denies he is a spy as claimed by Pakistan and insists he accidentally strayed into Pakistani territory.

India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday made a fresh appeal to the Pakistan government to grant clemency to Sarabjit on humanitarian grounds. There has not been any official response from Islamabad to the appeal.

Sarabjit's mercy petition was rejected by Musharraf on March 3. Pakistan's Supreme Court too rejected Sarabjit's plea for clemency in March 2006.


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