Pakistan hints at ‘positive’ outcome on Sarabjeet release

November 27th, 2008 - 1:59 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) Pakistan Wednesday said it was examining India’s request for the release of death row prisoner Sarabjeet Singh and hoped that “something positive” will come out of it. “We are cognizant of your concerns and (Sarabjit Singh’s) family. We are examining the case,” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said after talks with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee at a joint press conference.

India raised the issue of the release of Sarabjit Singh, who has been languishing in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail for 18 years on account of his alleged complicity in bombings in Multan, at the home-secretary level talks that concluded in Islamabad Wednesday.

In April this year, the Pakistan government had decided to carry out the death sentence to the 42-year-old Sarabjit Singh, who was convicted by Pakistani courts of terrorism and spying and sentenced to death.

The Pakistan Supreme Court upheld the death sentence despite Sarabjit’s plea of innocence.

But after intensified diplomatic efforts by India, it put off the issue indefinitely. The government later announced its intention to commute all death sentences into life terms - a decision that raised hopes of the release of Singh.

The Indian side is cautiously optimistic of a positive outcome, official source said.

In their talks lasting over one-and-a-half hour, Mukherjee and Qureshi discussed a wide range of bilateral issues that included the intensification of economic ties, strengthening counter-terrorism cooperation and removing bottlenecks from bilateral trade.

Qureshi is on a four-day visit to India that also takes hom to Chandigarh, Ajmer and Jaipur.

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