Pak court summons witnesses in Sarabjit murder case

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Sarabjit
Lahore, Sep 10: A Pakistani court today summoned prosecution witnesses in the murder case of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh who was killed in a brutal assault by other inmates in a high-security jail here last year.

The case proceedings resumed after a considerable delay of several months owing to the transfer of the judge. Additional District and Sessions (Lahore) Judge Shahzeb Saeed has replaced Judge Syed Anjum Raza Syed and resumed the trial of two murder suspects through a video-link.

Judge Saeed directed the Punjab Police's legal department to ensure appearance of the witnesses on September 20, the date of the next hearing. The judge also directed the Kot Lakhpat station house officer to ensure his presence at the next hearing.

The murder trial of death row convict Sarabjit began last January and subsequently his two alleged killers - Amer Sarfraz alias Tamba and Muddassar Bashir - were indicted.

Both the accused who were also death row prisoners had allegedly attacked Sarabjit with sharp-edged weapons when he was being moved from one cell to another in the Kot Lakhpat Jail here on April 26 last year.

Sarabjit, 49, later died on May 2 after being comatose for nearly a week after the attack. Amer and Muddassar denied the murder charges when they were charge sheeted. However, earlier they had confessed to the murder of the Indian death row prisoner before a one-member judicial commission constituted to probe the murder.

They said, "We wanted to take revenge from him (Sarabjit) for killing the Pakistanis in bomb blasts in Lahore and Faisalabad". The commission's report has also been submitted to the trial court. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan had declared Sarabjit's murder as a "planned one".

Sarabjit was convicted and sentenced to death for his alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Pakistan's Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990 and he spent about 22 years in Pakistani prisons.

His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf. The previous Pakistan Peoples Party-led government put off Sarabjit's execution for an indefinite period in 2008. Sarabjit's family has said he was the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state.

PTI

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