Advani urges for Sarabjit's clemency
Taking up the case of Sarabjit Singh, who is on a death row in Pakistan, senior BJP leader LK Advani has urged that country's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani to take the "bold step" of granting clemency to him as the "magnanimity" will win the goodwill of people of India.
In a letter to Gillani dated April 6, Advani said he was addressing him with the hope that the new democratically-elected Prime Minister would "preside over a new era in Pakistani politics and Indo-Pakistani amity."
Citing the case of Sarabjit Singh, the Leader of Opposition said he was writing under "painful circumstances" for the people of India.
"I plead the case for clemency of Sarabjit Singh... I urge you to adopt a bold step and grant clemency to Sarabjit Singh," Advani said.
Such an "act of magnanimity will win the goodwill of the Indian people, and buttress our common objective in South Asia - the pursuit of peace on the subcontinent," he said.
Curiously, the 11-day-old letter was released on Thursday, a day after Sarabjit's family members got visas to travel to Pakistan and meet him.
Pointing out that Sarabjit has already served 18 years in prison, Advani drew Gillani's attention to the interest this case has received among ordinary Indians, and the "bipartisan concern" it has among the political parties in India.
Singh was sentenced to death for his alleged involvement in 1990 serial blasts in Lahore and Multan. He was to be hanged on April one but it was postponed till April 30.
Advani also referred to claims made by Singh's family that his may be a case of mistaken identity and his sister Dalbir Kaur's offer to conduct a DNA test to prove his innocence.
"Pakistan human rights activist Ansar Burney reportedly remarked in Chandigarh that 'prima facie' evidence suggests that Sarabjit's may be a case of mistaken identity. If such a possibility exists, would it not be reasonable for Pakistani authorities to review its decision?, he asked.