Pak Government defers Sarabjit's hanging for another 21 days

Sarabjit singhIslamabad, Apr 28 : The Pakistan Government on Monday announced that it was deferring the hanging of Sarabjit Singh, the Indian on death row for the last 18 years, by another 21 days.

Monday's decision was the second time in the last month that the hanging of Sarabjit has been deferred.

It maybe recalled that he was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in March 2006 for alleged role in perpetrating bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan in
1990-91, which claimed the lives of 14 people and caused grievous injury to many more. His family, which is currently in Lahore to plead for his clemency with the Pakistani leadership, has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence, and stated that his is a case of mistaken identity.

The Government of India, too, has pitched in and asked Islamabad to deal with the case on compassionate grounds.

According to a Kotlakhpat Jail official, no execution order for April 30 has been received as yet.

Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur is reported to have thanked the Pakistan government and said she had full faith in its benevolence.

The news came hours after former Pakistan Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif reportedly asked the Pakistan Government not to hang Sarabjit on humanitarian grounds.

Earlier in the day, former Pakistan Human Rights Minister Ansar Burney, who has taken up the cause of Sarabjit, said that he would urge President Pervez Musharraf to pardon the Indian national. Burney is to meet Musharraf this week to plead his case.

The newly elected Pakistan Government has in fact suggested that all death sentences be commuted to life imprisonment.

Earlier, Sarabjit was to be hanged on April 1, but this decision was put off till April 30 after the Indian Government had appealed to the Pakistan Government for clemency.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had issued a fresh appeal to Islamabad to grant clemency to Sarabjit on humanitarian grounds. Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani had also sought clemency for Sarabjit.

President Pervez Musharraf had earlier rejected his appeal for clemency. (ANI)