Krishna raises Sarabjit issue with Zardari
Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Friday urged the Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to consider the mercy plea of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian prisoner on a death row in Pakistan.
Krishna, on a three-day visit to Pakistan, met Zardari here Friday evening.
"President Zardari said that he would consider the matter. He even asked his officials to take note of it," a source said here.
Sarabjit, a resident of Indian Punjab's border belt of Bhikhiwind, is lodged in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat prison for the last over 22 years. His family, particularly his sister Dalbir Kaur, has been fighting for his release with a sustained campaign in India and Pakistan.
Dalbir Kaur had recently met Krishna in New Delhi to request him to use government channels to get Sarabjit released.
Sarabjit's family claims that he had inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan in an inebriated state August 1990 and was arrested there. He hails from Bhikhiwind village along the India-Pakistan border, 280 km from Chandigarh.
He was later identified as Manjit Singh and accused of planting two bombs in Pakistan which claimed 14 lives. He was sentenced to death by Pakistani courts even though his family here claimed that he was innocent.
Pakistan had done a flip-flop June this year after announcing that President Zardari had commuted Sarabjit's death sentence and that he would be released.
Later, the presidential spokesman said that instead of Sarabjit, another Indian prisoner, Surjeet Singh, who has been languishing in Pakistani jails for over three decades on spying charges, would be released. Surjeet Singh was released later after spending 30 years in Pakistan's jails.
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at email@example.com)