Krishna assures family of Sarabjit’s release (Lead)

June 28th, 2012 - 4:39 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 28 (IANS) External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna has assured family members of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian prisoner on death row in Pakistan on terrorism charges, of his release, a family member said Thursday.

Sarabjit’s sister Dalbir Kaur said after meeting Krishna that he had told her “that the matter has been raised with Pakistan several times and India will again take it up during the foreign secretary level talks next month. He said that India will not let him stay in Pakistan jail and my brother will be released soon,” she said.

Shocked by the U-turn on the release of Sarabjit Singh, his family members Thursday held a protest at the Jantar Mantar and met Krishna to seek his release.

Krishna earlier expressed happiness over the release of another Indian prisoner, Surjeet Singh.

“I am happy that Surjeet Singh is released. I hope that Pakistan will also seriously ponder and consider to release Sarbarjit Singh,” Krishna told reporters.

Dalbir Kaur, who has led the campaign for Sarabjit’s release in the last few years, said: “Pakistan has played a cruel joke on us and we are again requesting (Pakistan President Asif Ali) Zardari to release Sarabjit.”

Pakistan had done a flip-flop late Tuesday after announcing that 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.

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.

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