With hope, anxiety Sarabjit’s family goes to Pakistan

April 23rd, 2008 - 11:01 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Attari Border (Punjab), April 23 (IANS) With hope in heart and anxiety on mind, members of the family of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian on a death row in a Pakistani jail on terrorism charges, Wednesday crossed this joint land border check post between the two countries. Led by Sarabjit’s elder sister Dalbir Kaur, who has been spearheading a campaign to save him from the gallows, his wife Sukhpreet and two daughters Swapandeep and Poonam crossed into Pakistan on foot Wednesday afternoon. They are accompanied by Dalbir’s husband.

Sarabjit has not yet seen his daughter Poonam as she was born after he was arrested and jailed in Pakistan 18 years ago.

“We are going to Pakistan with a lot of hope. We hope that the government and people of Pakistan will see reason in the innocence of Sarabjit,” Dalbir Kaur told reporters here before getting past the heavy iron border gates.

The family was seen off by a few supporters from their hometown Bhikhiwind and other social activists. The family paid obeisance at the Sikh holy shrine of Harminder Saheb - the Golden Temple - at Amritsar, 30 km from here, before arriving at the border.

The family is carrying with it a few food items, especially sweets and kheer that Sarabjit likes.

“We don’t remember having seen our father. We are eagerly waiting to meet him,” his daughters Swapandeep and Poonam said here.

Sarabjit was arrested in Pakistan September 1990 and was later charged with terrorist activities. He was later convicted of two bombings in 1990 in Lahore and Multan, in which 14 Pakistanis died.

He was sentenced to death by a court in Pakistan. The death sentence was last year upheld by Pakistan’s Supreme Court. Sarabjit’s mercy plea was rejected by President Pervez Musharraf in March this year.

Following the intervention of the Indian government and pressure from human rights activists, Sarabjit’s execution, earlier scheduled for April 1, was postponed by a month.

The Pakistan government has been petitioned again to postpone his hanging till another mercy petition, filed by Pakistan’s human rights activist and former minister Ansar Burney, is decided upon by President Musharraf.

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