India hopes Pak is lenient towards Sarabjit

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New Delhi, Mar 17: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will make a statement in Parliament tomorrow on the issue of Sarabjit Singh, the Indian prisoner in Pakistani jail who has been ordered by the Lahore High Court to be hanged on April one, for his alleged involvement in bomb explosions in that country.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma hoped that Pakistan would be lenient ''on humanitarian grounds'' towards Sarabjit Singh in view of strong sentiments of the people here. He said India had earlier also requested the Pakistan government to show leniency towards Sarabjit.

The Minister, however, said India had limited options in this regard and could only make a request to the Pakistan government.

''We had earlier also conveyed the strong sentiments of our people to Pakistan and requested for clemency and some reprieve to him. We hope that considering humanitarian aspects, some leniency will be shown,'' Mr Sharma told reporters on the sidelines of a function at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Arts here.

He said the government had not received any formal intimation from Islamabad in this regard.

India had always tried to secure the release of prisoners in Pakistani jails.

A Committee of Retired Judges from both countries held its first meeting here recently to examine the cases of prisoners in either country and secure their release.

Sarabjit Singh has been in Pakistani jails for the last 17 years.

He was served 'black warrant' last week to be hanged on April one.


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