Dalbir Kaur to fight for release of Pak prisoners

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Jalandhar, May 1 (UNI) While spearheading the campaign for the release of her brother Sarabjit Singh, a death row prisoner in Pakistan, Dalbir Kaur now plans to take up the cudgels for Pakistani nationals behind bars in India.

''I have resolved to work for the release of nearly 45 condemned Pakistani prisoners, most of whom had already completed their sentences but were not released from the jails or who were arrested on petty issues so that they should be reunited with their families,'' she told UNI here.

Dalbir, who has just returned after a week-long visit to Pakistan to meet her condemned brother, said she had been provided a list of Pakistan prisoners by Brigadier Rao Abid Hamid (Retd), a Pakistan Human Rights activist working with Chairperson of Pakistan Human Rights Commission, Asma Jahangir.

She had requested the Chairperson to help in getting the two Indian women prisoners released from Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore who have lost their mental balance.

Talking to UNI, Dalbir Kaur said she was inspired by former Pakistan Human Rights Minister Ansar Burney's crucial role in the release of Indian prisoner Kashmir Singh, who had spent nearly 30 years in Pakistan jails. ''I would also work for the release of Indian prisoners lodged in Pakistan jails, irrespective of Sarabjit's fate,'' she added.

She also asserted that she would continue her crusade for the release of Pakistani prisoners even if Sarabjit were not released by the Pakistan government, though the chances of his release seemed very bright.

She said to expedite her endeavour for the release of the Pakistan prisoners, she had faxed a letter to Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi to apprise him of the messages of the Pakistan people, whose kith and kin were languishing in Indian jails.

''When I visited Pakistan recently, many people met me with names and addresses of their relatives lodged in Indian jails,'' she said.

She had sought permission for meeting the prisoners, included in the list, from External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee so that she could take their messages and letters back to their relatives, when she would re-visit the neighbouring country soon, Dalbir said.

She also narrated an incident in which a relative of a Pakistan prisoner in Indian jail claimed that he had been duped by an Indian lawyer, who had taken thousands of rupees to fight the prisoners' case and to deposit the Court fine.

As the lawyer did not deposit the fine, the release of the prisoner has been delayed for a long time, she said adding that such unscrupulous people should be severely punished.

Dalbir's brother Sarabjit Singh, condemned to death for his alleged role in bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan in 1991, was scheduled to be hanged today, but due to the appeal of the Indian government his hanging was again deferred for a period of 21 days.

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