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Sarabjit's kin leaves Pak, appeals for mercy

world Updated: Apr 29, 2008 14:10 IST

The family of Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh on Tuesday described him as a "victim of bad luck" and appealed to the Pakistan government to pardon him as they left for India following a week-long visit to the country.

"When I come back again, I hope you will send Sarabjit back with me. And we will all celebrate at this same spot," Dalbir Kaur, the condemned man's sister, told reporters at the Wagah border post as the family left for India.

"My brother is a victim of bad luck," she said.

Dalbir had come to Pakistan with her husband Baldev Singh and Sarabjit's wife Sukhpreet Kaur and his daughters Swapandeep and Poonam on April 22.

The family had an emotional reunion with Sarabjit after 18 years in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail the following day.

The family had sought permission for another meeting with Sarabjit but had to leave without seeing him as their visas, which were valid for only a week, expired today.

Sarabjit's execution was yesterday put off by Pakistan authorities for up to three weeks, with officials describing it as a "procedural postponement".

Efforts to save Sarabjit from the gallows too received a boost with former premier Nawaz Sharif asking the Pakistan government not to hang him on humanitarian grounds.

However, the PML-N chief did not favour an unconditional pardon for Sarabjit, sentenced to death for alleged involvement in bomb attacks in Pakistan nearly two decades ago.

Sharif said Sarabjit should be released on the condition that he would be sent back to Pakistan if concrete evidence is found against him.