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'Sarabjit embraces Islam'

The Indian national is awaiting decision from Musharraf over his mercy petition.

india Updated: Apr 05, 2006 22:49 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Indian national Sarabjit Singh has reportedly embraced Islam but his lawyer said he continues to sign all documents as Sarabjit.

Sarbjit is awaiting a decision from President Pervez Musharraf over his mercy petition for his alleged involvement in four bomb blasts in Pakistan.

A report in Pakistan daily Ausaf said Sarabjit, currently housed in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore, has embraced Islam, has changed his name to Sarfaraz Ahmad, prays five times and has written a will asking his family to bury him.

In his will addressed to family members, Sarabjit Singh said his conversion to Islam had nothing to do with the mercy appeal or influence of Pakistani leaders but was purely because of religious understanding, the report said.

The reports of Sarabjit's conversion were in circulation in the media for a while as he was imprisoned since his "capture" in 1990. The "conversion" could entail Muslim prisoners to come out of their solitary cells five times a day to pray.

This is a major relief for anyone imprisoned for about 16 years, Indian officials here believe.

Reacting to the reports, Sarabjit's lawyer Rana Abdul Hamid said over phone from Lahore that though his client had embraced Islam there was no official certificate issued which suggested that the conversion was private and not official.

Hamid, who has filed a mercy petition on behalf of Sarabjit, said his client still continues to sign all petitions in his original name.

"In fact the charge sheet and the prosecution identified him as Manjit Singh which he continues to contradict by insisting that he is Sarabjit not Manjit", Hamid said.

First Published: Apr 05, 2006 22:44 IST