Family relieved as Sarabjit execution if put off

March 19th, 2008 - 6:53 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) The family of Sarabjit Singh, the condemned Indian prisoner facing death sentence in Pakistan, expressed relief at the postponement by a month of his execution, earlier scheduled for April 1. “It is like a miracle… god is listening to our prayers,” Sarabjit Singh’s brother-in-law Baldev Singh told IANS.

“Now we plan to go to the Shishganj Gurdwara to offer our thanks,” he said.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha, lower house of parliament, that the Indian High Commission in Islamabad was informed that the hanging has been postponed till April 30.

“I am happy to inform the house that the high commissioner of India in Islamabad informed a little while ago that President Pervez Musharraf has stayed the execution of Sarabjit Singh till April 30,” he said.

Baldev Singh and his wife Dalbir Singh have been camping in the capital since Monday and meeting top leaders to request a high-level intervention to save Sarabjit Singh’s life.

They have already met Mukherjee, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and Congress parliamentarian Rahul Gandhi.

They have been seeking to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Sarabjit Singh was arrested in 1990 near the India-Pakistan border. He was charged and later convicted for spying as well as carrying out four bombings that killed 14 people and injured dozens more in Lahore and Faisalabad.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court upheld his 1991 death sentence in 2006 and he was scheduled to be executed April 1.

Mukherjee told the lower house of parliament that the government was “continuing its efforts to secure the life of Sarabjit Singh”.

Terming the staying of execution as a “partial success”, the minister assured the house that the government would take every step to save Sarabjit Singh.

The members present in the house received Mukherjee’s announcement with thumping applause.

Public opinion in India has been strongly in favour of clemency for Sarabjit Singh.

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