Sarabjit's family come back to home, hopes for his clemency

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Amritsar, Apr 29 : The family of Sarabjit Singh, the Indian man on death row in Pakistan, on Tuesday returned to India with a hope that the Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani Government would pardon him.

"It (their meeting with Sarabjit) is a step towards our campaign," said Dalbir Kaur who returned with his wife Sukhpreet Kaur and his daughters Swapandeep and Poonam.

"My brother is a victim of bad luck," she added.

Dalbir, who met 42-year-old Sarabjit along with other family members at Kotlakhpat jail in Lahore, said she spent 48 minutes with him and the Pakistani students who held a protest during their visit were agitating against Manjit Singh, not Sarabjit.

"I could not even hug my brother and he could not hug his daughters, since he was kept separated by bars. It was very tough time for him when he met his family members and he was struggling hard to hold back his tears," she said.

"During the meeting, Sarabjit himself prepared tea for his family in the jail and we took it with sweets. Later, he also offered us cold drinks," Kaur recalled.

"Sarabjit is innocent and could never commit a heinous act," she said claiming he had crossed over inadvertently.

The Pakistan Government on Monday announced that it was deferring the hanging of Sarabjit Singh, the Indian on death row for the last 18 years, by another 21 days.

Monday's decision was the second time in the last month that the hanging of Sarabjit has been deferred.

It maybe recalled that he was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in March 2006 for alleged role in perpetrating bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan in 1990-91, which claimed the lives of 14 people and caused grievous injury to many more.

The newly elected Pakistan Government has in fact suggested that all death sentences be commuted to life imprisonment.

Earlier, Sarabjit was to be hanged on April 1, but this decision was put off till April 30 after the Indian Government had appealed to the Pakistan Government for clemency.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had issued a fresh appeal to Islamabad to grant clemency to Sarabjit on humanitarian grounds. Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani had also sought clemency for Sarabjit.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had earlier rejected his appeal for clemency. By Ravinder Singh Robin By Ravinder Singh Robin

ANI

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