Islamabad : An editorial in a Pakistan daily has stated that Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, lodged at Lahore”s Kot Lakhpat Jail, should be freed based on evidence and on the simple basis of humanity.
Sarabjit, who has filed his fifth mercy petition to the Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, is hoping that this time around it will be accepted, following the release of Dr Khalil Chishty, the virologist held in India for almost two decades, the editorial said.
The petition is backed by the signatures of over 100,000 Indian citizens. It also contains letters written to Zardari by the chief cleric of Delhi”s Jama Masjid and the caretaker of the shrine of the revered sufi saint Moinuddin Chishty, it stated.
Mercy needs to be shown and Sarabjit, who has already served 22 years in Pakistani jails, and should be permitted to return home, it added.
Sarabjit was arrested in 1990 in connection with a series of bomb blasts that went off in various cities in Punjab, following which he was convicted and condemned to the gallows. He was supposed to be hanged on April 1, 2008, but the decision was stayed following an outcry in India, appeals from the Indian government and orders from Islamabad to put off the sentence, it further said.
In the wake of Dr Chishty”s release following a request by President Zardari, reciprocal action needs to be taken by Pakistan. The move can help bring people of both countries closer, the editorial added.
The editorial concludes by citing some other reasons as to why Sarabjit should be freed. Firstly, Sarabjit”s counsel insists that there is irrefutable proof that he was in India when the bombings occurred, while the prisoner”s sister, Dalbir Kaur, is also stated to have produced evidence of his innocence.
Secondly, a question over identity had surfaced in the case, with Indian activists stating that the unfortunate Sarabjit was actually mistaken for a man called Manjeet Singh, who actually carried out the bombings.