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Sister, daughter deny Sarabjit's conversion to Islam

By Staff
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Amritsar, Apr 6: Mrs Dalbir Kaur, the sister of Sarabjit Singh, the Indian imprisoned in Pakistan and his daughter Ms Swapandeep Kaur have denied reports that Sarabjit had embraced Islam.

''We have been in constant touch with Sarabjit's lawyer, Rana Abdul Hamid and he has given no such information,'',the two said when asked for their comments on reports carried in certain newspapers that Sarabjit who is facing the gallows in a bomb explosion case and is lodged in a jail in Lahore had converted to Islam.

They said that as per information provided by Mr Hamid and some of their well wishers in Pakistan, Sarabjit continues to be a devoted Sikh. ''He may not have been provided a 'gutka'(small version of Guru Granth Sahib) in jail, so he could have taken part in the daily prayers performed by Muslim prisoners in jail, which does not tantamount to his embracing Islam'',they added.

Mrs Dalbir Kaur said that Guru Nanak in his 'bani' had said 'Aval Allaha Noor Upahya, Kudrat de sab bande' (All human beings are created by the same god).''So if Sarabjit has recited versus from the Koran in jail there is nothing wrong,'' she said but at the same time expressed confidence that her brother still remained a devoted Sikh.

As per reports quoting an Urdu newspaper, 'Ausaf', Sarabjit who is lodged in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore had embraced Islam and in his 'will' has asked his family members to bury him instead of cremating him after his death. The paper had quoted that the conversion had nothing to do with the death sentence but was purely because of religious understanding. The report said that he had changed his name to Sarfaraz Ahmad.

Refering to her talks with Sarabjit's lawyer, the sister said that there was no offical certification suggesting his conversion to Islam. On the contrary the mercy petetion filed before Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and another review petition filed before the Supreme Court have been filed on behalf of Sarabjit Singh and not Sarfaraz Ahmad, she added.

Sarabjit's mercy petition was filed before the Pakistan President after the Supreme Court rejected his review petition in a bomb blast case which killed several people. Another review petition is also pending before the Supreme Court in three other bomb blast cases in which Sarabjit Singh who was sentenced to death by a lower court is the main accused.

The sister and brother had a few days back sent a faxed message to General Musharraf appealing to him to consider the mercy petition sympathetically as he was 'reham dil insaan' (compassionate person). The two had also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he came here on March 24 and had appealed to him to impress upon the Pakistan government to grant pardon to Sarabjit who was innocent.

UNI

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