India seeks ‘leniency’ for Sarabjit
By Iftikhar Gilani
NEW DELHI: Indian parliamentarians on Monday pleaded President Pervez Musharraf to show “some leniency” towards Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who is to be hanged on April 1, for his alleged involvement in the 1990 bomb blasts in Lahore.
The Indian government also hoped that Pakistan would review the decision to hang Sarabjit keeping in view the “sentiments of the people”. Members from the Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajya Sabha (upper house) demanded a resolution against the move to hang Sarabjit.
State Minister for External Affairs Anand Sharma told the house that India had “limited options” in this case, and could only request the Pakistan government to re-consider the case on humanitarian grounds.
Death warrant for Sarabjit has been received at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail, where he has been languishing for the last 17 years.
“In the Sarabjit Singh case, we had earlier conveyed strong sentiments of our people and requested Pakistan to give some clemency and reprieve to Sarabjit. We hope that considering humanitarian aspects, some leniency would be given to him,” Sharma told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
To a question, Anand Sharma said, “It is a very sensitive issue. We can only request the Pakistan government to show some leniency”. Sarabjit’s sister Dalbir Kaur met Congress parliamentarian Rahul Gandhi, and asked him to take up the matter with the government. She condemned a statement of Kashmir Singh, who has been recently released from Pakistan after President Pervez Musharraf pardoned him, in which he admitted that he was an Indian spy, saying the statement had cast shadows on the fate of other Indian prisoners still in Pakistani jails.
“It has been our endeavour to ensure that prisoners in both the countries, who have completed their sentences, are released and for which a committee has been set up,” he said.