Family of Indian on death row to seek Pakistani visa

March 26th, 2008 - 6:04 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) Having got their new passports, the family of Sarabjit Singh, the Indian prisoner on death row in Pakistan, plans to apply for a visa Friday to visit the neighbouring country and meet him. “I am planning to reach Delhi on Friday to apply for visa at the Pakistan High Commission,” Sarabjit’s sister Dalbir Kaur told IANS on phone from Amritsar, Punjab.

Dalbir said their hopes of getting permission to travel to Pakistan had been raised after Ansar Burney, human rights minister in the caretaker Pakistani government, had said that Sarabjit’s family should be allowed to visit him in prison.

“Only after that did I apply for passports through tatkal in Jalandhar and finally got them at eight in the evening (Tuesday),” she said.

Dalbir added all the five family members would apply for visas - Sarabjit’s wife, two daughters, sister (Dalbir) and brother-in-law.

On March 19, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had deferred the hanging of Sarabjit by a month after an appeal for clemency from the Indian government and his family.

Sarabjit, sentenced to death in 1991 for spying and carrying out four bomb blasts in Pakistan that killed 14 people, was to be hanged April 1 following Musharraf’s rejection of his mercy plea.

His family has vehemently denied he is a spy and insists he strayed into Pakistani territory by mistake.

India had thereafter issued a statement hoping that Sarabjit would be granted clemency on “humanitarian grounds”.

A day after his execution was deferred, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad had said: “The reprieve now allows time for the appeals for clemency to be given proper consideration from all angles, including by the new government expected to take office in Pakistan soon.”

Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Makhdoom Yousuf Raza Gillani was administered the oath of office Tuesday by President Musharraf, with reports indicating that the new cabinet may be announced and take oath March 29.

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