Badal writes to PM on Sarabjit's death warrant

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Chandigarh, Mar 17 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today urged the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to personally request the Pakistan government to review the death warrant issued against detained Indian national Sarabjit Singh.

He asked the Prime Minister to directly urge General Parvez Musharraf, "to seize this historic opportunity to uphold the virtues of mercy, as preached by all religions, including Islam. " In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Badal said that the issuances of a death warrant had sent shock waves in Punjab and throughout the country. He said that charges against Sarabjit Singh could not be proved "beyond reasonable doubt" as the key witnesses in the case had alleged that" pressure" was being put on him to depose against the accused.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister's Media Advisor, Mr Harcharan Bains said that efforts were on to seek a personal audience with the Prime Minister as early as possible to discuss the issue in the light of the urgency suddenly thrown by the issuance of a death warrant against Sarabjit. Mr Bains said that the Ms Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit, had requested for the issuance of early passports to the family to enable them to travel to Pakistan.

"The Chief Minister is in touch with the central Government to ensure every possible help to the beleaguered family," Mr Bains.

The Chief Minister further stated that an important segment of the intelligentsia and people of the sub-continent at large had also advocated a lenient approach in the case. He reminded the Prime Minister that the Punjab Government had repeatedly pleaded with the Government of India to pursue the matter vigorously with its counterpart in Pakistan to secure clemency for Sarabjit.

"Now that death warrants have been issued against the Indian National in a case which is prima facie a case of 'mistaken identity', the situation has taken a more serious turn. But we believe that it is still not too late for the President of Pakistan to show human dignity, grace and magnanimity in the larger interest of peace and human brotherhood among people of different countries in the world in general and those of the sub-continent in particular", the Chief Minister stated in the letter.

Meanwhile the President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Sukhbir Singh Badal has also sought the personal intervention of the Prime Minister in the case. He has urged the Prime Minister to impress upon the Pakistan Government to review its decision on and release Sarabjit.

UNI HS VN1818

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