Sarabjit’s family returns from Pakistan with fresh hope

April 29th, 2008 - 5:35 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Attari Border (Punjab), April 29 (IANS) The family of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian on death row in Pakistan on terrorism charges, Tuesday returned to India with the hope that he would be pardoned by the Pakistan government. His elder sister Dalbir Kaur, his wife Sukhpreet Kaur, daughters Swapandeep and Poonam and uncle returned to India through the Attari-Wagah land border between the two countries as their seven-day visa to Pakistan expired Tuesday.

“We have very high hopes from the Pakistan government. We want to thank the Pakistani authorities for allowing us to meet Sarabjit. Even though we were not able to hug him and had to meet him behind a wire mesh, we are happy about seeing him after 18 years,” Sarabjit’s sister told reporters at this land border after walking through the iron gates between India and Pakistan.

Swapandeep and Poonam said that they were very happy and emotional about meeting their father whom they had never seen in person.

“My brother is a victim of bad luck. He is innocent and that is what we have tried to convince the authorities and people in Pakistan about,” Dalbir Kaur said.

The family had gone to Pakistan April 23.

The Pakistan government Monday announced that the hanging of Sarabjit had been postponed by three weeks. He was to be hanged May 1. This is the second postponement of his hanging.

Sarabjit is known as Manjit Singh in that country and has been sentenced to death for two blasts in Lahore and Multan in 1990 which left 14 Pakistanis killed.

The Indian government has already appealed to Pakistan to pardon Sarabjit.

His family claims that he inadvertently crossed into Pakistan August 1990 in an inebriated state from the land border near his home town Bhikhiwind.

He was later caught in Pakistan and blamed for the two blasts. He was sentenced to death by a lower court there and the sentence was upheld by the Pakistan Supreme Court last year.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had rejected a mercy plea from Sarabjit in March.

Human rights activist and former Pakistan minister Ansar Burney has submitted a fresh plea to the Pakistan government to free Sarabjit saying there was no concrete evidence against him in the blasts case and that he had strayed into Pakistan by mistake.

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