Pardon granted to Kashmir Singh challenged
A lawyer has challenged the pardon granted by President Pervez Musharraf to Indian national Kashmir Singh, who was freed after spending 35 years on death row in a Pakistani jail, even as the move was criticised by religious leaders and organisations.
Singh was freed after his case was taken up with Musharraf by caretaker Human Rights Minister Ansar Burney. He was reunited with his family in India two days ago.
Lawyer MD Tahir, in his petition filed in the Lahore High Court yesterday, said Attorney General Malik Qayyum had earlier stated that Singh and other Indians in Pakistani jails were not entitled to be released.
Noting that many Pakistanis were languishing in Indian jails, Tahir asked the High Court to declare Singh's release as illegal, unconstitutional and without lawful authority.
Tahir also referred to his plea to PML-Q general secretary Mushahid Hussain Sayed to seek the government's help for the release of Afzal Guru, who has been sentenced to death for his role in the attack on India's parliament.
Religious leaders and organisations too have taken exception to the presidential pardon granted to Singh, saying it was in stark contrast to the apathy shown to a large number of Pakistanis who had suffered worse violations of their fundamental rights.
Jamaat-e-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad said Musharraf had exercised his discretionary powers in favour of "enemies of the state and foreign citizens" though he never treated Pakistanis in a similar manner.
The religious leaders also slammed Musharraf for "not showing mercy" to the militants and other radical elements who were holed up in Islamabad's Lal Masjid, against which the military conducted an operation last year. Over 100 people were killed in that operation.