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Sarabjit Singh may escape the noose

world Updated: Apr 25, 2008 21:13 IST

Indian death row convict, Sarabjit Singh, who has spent 18 years in a Lahore jail, may escape the noose next week with the likelihood of the Pakistan Government commuting capital punishment into life imprisonment.

"A summary prepared by the interior ministry is at an advanced stage and a final decision is expected within a few days," the Dawn newspaper reported on Friday quoting an unnamed source.

A "major beneficiary" of the move would be Sarabjit, who was convicted of charges of allegedly carrying out four bomb attacks in Punjab province in 1990 that left 14 people dead, the source said.

42-year old Sarabjit's execution had been set for April 1 after the rejection of his mercy petitions by the Supreme Court and President Pervez Musharraf. But later, Musharraf delayed his execution for a month after receiving a fresh appeal from India so that Pakistan's new government could review his case.

Sarabjit's family had a emotional reunion with him at the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore yesterday. They had separately sent a clemency appeal to Musharraf that is also currently with the government.

Sarabjit's sister, Dalbir Kaur carried 18 'rakhis' for her brother for all those years he was away when she met him along with his wife and daughters at the Lahore jail.

"The meeting was very emotional. I carried 18 rakhis for my brother. Initially, he was very reluctant to let me tie them on his wrist because he did not have any gift to give me," Kaur told PTI on phone from Lahore.

Sarabjit's wife Sukhpreet Kaur, daughters Swapandeep and Poonam, his sister Dalbir Kaur and her husband Baldev Singh have been trying hard to secure his release. They have insisted he is an innocent farmer who strayed across the border in an inebriated condition in 1990.