Pak to free Indian "spy" condemned to death
Kashmir Singh, was arrested in the city of Rawalpindi with another Indian in 1973 while trying to smuggle goods from Pakistan to India.Updated: Mar 01, 2008 18:40 IST
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has accepted a mercy plea from an Indian national who spent 35 years on death row on spying charges, and ordered his release, a minister said on Friday.
Kashmir Singh, was arrested in the city of Rawalpindi with another Indian in 1973 while trying to smuggle goods from Pakistan to India.
The other man was sentenced to 10 years in jail and has been sent back to India, but a military court sentenced Singh to death.
"Kashmir Singh has gone through hell during the last 35 years. He has suffered more than enough for his alleged crime," Minister for Human Rights, Ansar Burney, told Reuters.
"I personally requested the president to accept his mercy petition in the greater interest of human rights and allow him to return home and spend the rest of his life with his family."
Burney said Singh would be released on Monday and handed over to Indian authorities.
The father of two sons and a daughter, Singh was from Indian Punjab and contact has been made with his family through Indian politicians, he said.
According to a report from the private Human Rights Commission of Pakistan last year, more than 7,300 men and 44 women are languishing in death cells across Pakistan.
In most cases, death senences are not carried out because of lengthy appeals.
In 2006, Musharraf commuted the death sentence of a Briton who spent 18 years in jail for murder.
Nuclear armed Pakistan and India have fought three wars since winning independence from Britain in 1947 and nearly went to war again in 2002.
Their relations have improved considerably since they launched a peace process in 2004 but they routinely arrest each others' nationals who have strayed across land or sea borders.