Now Dalbir Kaur advocates abolition of capital punishment

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Jalandhar, May 3 (UNI) Fighting for the release of her brother Sarabjit Singh, who was condemned to death in Pakistan, Dalbir Kaur today advocated the need for abolition of capital punishment in both India and Pakistan.

''If newly formed coalition government headed by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani could think of doing away with death penalties and was in the process of enacting a law for commuting death sentences to life term, then India should also reciprocate by abolishing capital punishment on humanitarian ground,'' said Dalbir Kaur while talking to media persons here this evening.

"If capital punishments are abolished in both the countries, prisoners who are sentenced to death would be able to go back to their countries, which would further improve the relations between the two neighbouring countries," she added.

On granting clemency to Parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru, who was sentenced to death, she said, ''He too should be pardoned on humanitarian ground.'' Yesterday, the Pakistani government has deferred the execution of Sarabjit Singh, who was sentenced to death in 1991 for spying and carrying out bomb blasts that killed 14 people, but his family said that he was innocent and had crossed the border into Pakistan accidentally in 1990 while he was drunk.

Last week, when his family members visited Pakistan to campaign for his release, they were handed over a list of 45 Pakitani prisoners lodged in Indian jails, by Brigadier Rao Abid Hamid (Retd), a Pakistan Human Rights activist working with Chairperson of Pakistan Human Rights Commission, Asma Jahangir. To meet and for the early release of these condemned Pakistani prisoners, she had sought permission from the External Affair Ministry, she informed.

Citing the example of two Indian women prisoners lodged in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore, who have lost their mental balance, she urged the government to expedite the extradition process of all the prisoners who had lost mental balance, so that they could be brought back and treated of their mental illness.

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