India to take up Sarabjit family visa issue with Pakistan

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New Delhi, Apr 15 (UNI) The Government today assured the family of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian prisoner on death row in Pakistan, that it would take up their visa application at an ''appropriate level'' In Islamabad to enable them be able to meet him in jail.

Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur met a senior official in the External Affairs Ministry, T C A Raghavan, and requested him to take up the matter with the Pakistan Foreign Ministry.

Mr Raghavan assured her that the External Affairs Ministry would take up the issue at the ''appropriate level'' in Islamabad and make all out efforts to ensure that visas were issued to Sarabjit's family members.

She also denied media reports suggesting that the Pakistan High Commission here had rejected visa applications of Sarabjit's family members.

She said the visa applications had not been rejected and were being processed.

''I contacted a Pakistani High Commission official, Rifat Maqsoodi, here and she told me that our visa applications have been sent to Islamabad for clearance and they will get back to us as soon as they hear from their Government,'' Dalbir told UNI.

The Indian High Commission in Islamabad was also making serious efforts to get visas for them, she added.

Dalbir also said that former Pakistan Human Rights Minister Ansar Burney would send the invitation, required for processing the visa applications.

Sarabjit wife Sukhpreet Kaur, his two daughters Swapandeep and Poonam besides Dalbir and her husband Baldev Singh had applied to the Pakistan High Commission here for 15-day visa to visit Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi on April ten.

Sarabjit was sentenced to death in 1991 for his alleged involvement in four bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan in 1990 in which 14 people were killed.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had rejected his mercy petition and Sarabjit was to be hanged on April one.

However, the execution was postponed by a month after the Indian government appealed to Pakistan for clemency on ''humanitarian grounds.'' He is lodged at Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail.

UNI AG RL KP1942

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