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'Musharraf has no power to pardon Sarabjit'

Pakistan Law Minister Wasi Zafar said President Musharraf has no power to pardon alleged Indian spy Sarabjit Singh.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2006 19:00 IST

Pakistan Law Minister Wasi Zafar said on Friday that President Pervez Musharraf has no power to pardon alleged Indian spy Sarabjit Singh, whose review petition against the death sentence has been rejected by the Supreme Court.

"As per the Supreme Court judgement in a previous case, the President has no power to pardon," Zafar said.

He added that the only avenue left for Singh was to reopen the case with new evidence rather than filing a mercy petition before Musharraf.

The Pakistan Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the review petition of Singh, who was condemned to death for allegedly spying and carrying out four bomb blasts in Pakistan.

Zafar said under section 402C of the CRPC in the 'hurt and murder' cases no one else except the legal heirs of the victims can pardon the accused. "So no one else even the President has power to do it," he said.

However, Singh's lawyer Rana Abdul Hameed contested the claim.

"The Minister is not correct. Article 45 of the constitution of Pakistan grants power to President to pardon and it has not been amended and until it does the President has the power to pardon," he said.

Hameed said he is planning to file a mercy petition after the Supreme Court gives its verdict on Singh's review petition on one more case which deals with three blast cases.

The defence lawyer also pointed that Musharraf granted pardon to deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was sentenced to life for allegedly preventing Musharraf's plane from landing.

First Published: Mar 10, 2006 19:00 IST