Chandigarh : The lawyer representing Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh in a Pakistani jail Wednesday met Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and appealed to him to take up the issue of his client’s release with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The Pakistani lawyer, Owais Sheikh, gave Badal a copy of mercy petition of Sarabjit, who has been on death row in Pakistan on charges of terrorism.
“We want Badal to give this mercy petition to the Indian prime minister and to persuade him to take up this issue with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari seeking clemency for Sarabjit,” said Sheikh after meeting Badal at his residence here Wednesday.
“I have appealed to Badal to use all of his diplomatic channels to pursue this case. I visited the native village of Sarabjit in Punjab and I would return to Pakistan with mercy petitions signed by over 100,000 people,” Sheikh said.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court had rejected Sarabjit’s mercy petition June 24 after his former lawyer Rana Abdul Hamid failed to appear in the court despite being specifically directed to do so.
Shiekh was accompanied by Sarabjit Singh’s sister Dalbir Kaur and daughter Swapandeep Kaur. He also presented to Badal the Hindi version of his book titled “Samjhota Express” on India-Pakistan relations.
Assuring Sheikh and Sarabjit’s family of all possible help, Badal said, “I have already taken up this matter with Manmohan Singh and with the Ministry of External Affairs to secure the release of Sarabjit.”
Sarabjit’s family claims he had crossed into Pakistan inadvertently in Aug 1990 in an inebriated state and was arrested there.
But police in Pakistan claim Sarabjit, who has been languishing in Pakistani jails for over 19 years, was involved in acts of terrorism. He has been convicted for two bombings in Lahore and Multan that left 14 people dead and many injured in 1990.