'No official confirmation on Sarabjit's release'

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Shimla, May 3: Union Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma today said there is no official confirmation of the staying of the execution of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh lodged in a Pakistan jail. ''There is no official confirmation of the staying of Sarabjit's execution. We are awaiting confirmation,'' he told a news conference here after reviewing the development works under the MP LAD scheme.

Mr Sharma was reacting to news reports from Pakistan that the Indian prisoner's execution has been put off. ''There is no official confirmation of the staying of Sarabjit's execution as per my talks with the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan early in the day,'' he added. He said the Indian Government would be relieved if his execution had been put off. ''We would be relieved if that is the decision. India has been urging the Government of Pakistan to take a humanitarian view and we had asked for clemency on that ground,'' he added.

Sarabjit Singh has been on death row in a jail in Lahore for 18 years on a conviction for spying and involvement in bombings that killed 27 people in 1990.

Mr Sharma said his priority areas for the allocation of funds under the MP LAD scheme were building of community assets, including the construction of an Arts Block in the Himachal Pradesh University and funds for the local Kendriya Vidayala.

Besides, funds have also been issued to disabled children and construction of community centers within the town, he said adding that his priority area for the next year was the setting up of an oldage home in the town following a request by the Oldage Care.

UNI

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