Badal hails Pak govt's move to go soft on Indian prisoners

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Chandigarh, Jun 21 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today welcomed the Pakistan Government's proposal to commute the death sentence of Indian prisoners Sarabjit Singh and Kirpal Singh into life imprisonment.

Mr Badal expressed his gratitude over the efforts made by the Central Government, especially Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Ministry of External Affairs in this regard.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan Prime Minister Sayed Yousaf Raza Gilani made the plea for their sentences to be commuted to life imprisonment in a speech to the National Assembly to commemorate Benazir Bhutto's 55th birthday.

In a statement, Mr Badal expressed the hope that the process would be taken forward to its logical conclusion resulting in the eventual release of the two Indian nationals.

Mr Badal also called for a ''further widening of the scope of this sane, humanitarian and statesman-like approach'' to include many others undergoing similar incarceration in the two countries.

This he said would be in the larger interest of peace, harmony and understanding among the people of the sub continent.

The Chief Minister also appreciated the role of Mr Ansar Burney, former Human Rights Minister of Pakistan, in ''bringing the matter to a more humane climax''.

SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal has conveyed his felicitations and good wishes to the families of Sarabjit Singh and Karpal Singh.

He said his party would continue its efforts for ensuring release of Sarabjit Singh and Kirpal Singh as well as others falling in this category.

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