Family of Indian death-row convict in Pak hope for release

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Hoshiarpur, Feb 12 (UNI) The family members of Kashmir Singh, who was arrested in 1973 on espionage charges and was on a death row in a Pakistan jail under abysmal condition, are delighted over the possibility of his early release, fuelled by media reports.

''Finally, God has accepted my prayers. But I can only be satisfied when I actually see him,'' Kashmir Singh's teary-eyed wife Paramjit Kaur told UNI at their house in Nangal Choran village in Mahilpur block of this district.

She had heard the good news that her husband will be release very shortly from people quoting news reports, she added.

''We are yet to receive any confirmation about his release from the official sources, but the news item carried in a section of press today, has brought sheer joy, '' his daughter-in-law Manjit Kaur said.

A large number of people from the adjoining areas have also been visiting Kashmir Singh's house and sweets were being distributed as the news regarding Kashmir Singh possible release spread in the region.

Though she had not seen her father-in-law, but her mother-in-law had told enough about him, Manjit said adding that he joined the Indian Army in 1962.

He left the service on December 21, 1966 and served it in other capacity from June 1968 to May 1970 for which a Line Officer of Army Headquarters, Jalandhar Cantt had issued him a certificate of appreciation, she said.

On October 20, 1971, Singh was again recruited as a sepoy No. 2261 at Amritsar. On August 11, 1972, he came to visit the family and left the next day, never to come back again, she said.

According to family members, on June 16, 1973 after they came to know about the arrest of Kashmir Singh in Pakistan on espionage charges, his wife Paramjit Kaur met his boss, Subedar Major Sucha Singh at Army Headquarters, Jalandhar Cantt, who assured her that all efforts would be made to get Singh released. However, no news came from the authorities in this regard.

After a gap of three years, on October 26, 1976, the family got a letter from Kashmir Singh from the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore, in which he had said that he had been awarded capital punishment on spying charges and had filed an appeal.

On June 30, 1978 some the Army officers from Jalandhar Cantt, came to meet Paramjit Kaur and gave her Rs 5000 with an assurance that efforts were on to secure her husband release.

On October 11, 1996, Paramjit Kaur received a letter from the Indian Embassy in Pakistan in which it was stated that efforts were being initiated to get Kashmir Singh released, said Manjit Kaur, adding that there was again silence after that.

Now again, their hope for meeting the patriarch has been rekindled by news reports that Pakistan Federal Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burney has taken up Kashmir Singh's case with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and believed that his mercy petition would be accepted soon.


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