BJP asks to grant clemency to Sarabjit

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New Delhi, Apr 17: Senior BJP leader and Leader of the Opposition L K Advani has urged newly-elected Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to review the death penalty handed down to Indian national Sarabjit Singh and asked for clemency for him.

''I write this letter to you under painful circumstances for the people of India. As the Leader of the Opposition in Indian Parliament, I plead the case for the clemency of Sarabjit Singh," he said in the April 6 communique to Mr Gilani. Mr Advani pointed out that Sarabjit has already served 18 years in prison in Pakistan, and most of that time on death row.

He said Sarabjit's was a case of mistaken identity and his sister had offered a DNA test to prove her brother's innocence whose execution had been rescheduled for April 30 this year.

Mr Advani also referred to a statement by Pakistan human rights activist Ansar Burney in Chandigarh recently that ''prime facie'' evidence suggests that Sarabjit's may be a case of mistaken identity.

While noting the level of interest this case had generated among common Indians, and the bipartisan concern among Indian political parties, Mr Advani urged the Pakistani PM to take ''a bold step and grant clemency to Sarabjit Singh'', adding that that gesture would win the goodwill of the Indian people, and buttress ''our common objective in South Asia--the pursuit of peace in the subcontinent''.

UNI

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