Sarabjit's ex lawyer asks Zardari to pardon him

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Islamabad, June 27 (ANI): A former lawyer who represented Sarabjit Singh, the Indian on death row in Pakistan, has appealed to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to either pardon him or commute his death sentence to life imprisonment.

Rana Abdul Hamid said Zardari should act on the several mercy petitions that were pending before him.

"We filed a mercy petition in 2006. There are also appeals from the Indian government, Sarabjit's family and other persons," Hamid said.

Hamid did not appear during two recent hearings in the Supreme Court of Sarabjit's review petition challenging his death sentence, as he was working as the Additional Advocate General of Punjab province till June 26.

A three-member bench of the apex court dismissed the review petition and upheld Sarabjit's death sentence on June 24 after Hamid failed to appear in court. The judges said they found "no ground" to review the death sentence.

Hamid said that as his job as Additional Advocate General with the Punjab Government had ended, he was free to represent Sarabjit again.

Singh, who has been on death row in Pakistan since 1991 for his alleged involvement in bomb attacks in 1990, has been given a new lawyer to represent him.

Lawyer Owif Sheikh will now fight Sarabjit's case and will be filing an appeal to the court.

Sheikh is expected to file an appeal on the grounds that the previous lawyer was not present at the time of the court's decision to reject Sarabjit's appeal. Sheikh will also request the government to abolish the death penalty on humanitarian grounds.

Sarabjit has been on death row since he was convicted for alleged involvement in four bomb blasts in 1990 that killed 14 people.

He was to be hanged on April one last year, but authorities in Pakistan put off his execution indefinitely after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani intervened in the matter. (ANI)

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