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Pak death row inmate Sarabjit Singh's relatives again appeal for his release

Jaipur, Sat, 07 Apr 2012 ANI

Jaipur, Apr.7 (ANI): Ahead of the visit of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to India, the sister and daughter of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian sentenced to death in Pakistan, have once again appealed for his release on humanitarian grounds.

They arrived in Jaipur on Friday and said that they too would offer prayers at the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer on Saturday.

They said that they would pray for the safe and early release of Sarabjit Singh.

Zardari will arrive in India on Sunday and will visit Ajmer later in the day to offer prayers at the same shrine.

Dalbir Kaur, the sister of Sarabjit Singh, said former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had also visited the same shrine and had prayed for Zardari's safe release when he was imprisoned in Pakistan. So, she hoped that her prayers would also be answered.

"I would like to appeal Zardariji (Pakistan President, Asif Ali Zardari) that if you are willing to strengthen and improve relations with India, then it is necessary to release Sarabjit. Innocent people should be released, and I am hopeful that Zardariji will accept our request, and Sarabjit will be released soon. I would also appeal the administration and the Indian government that keeping this point in view, they should help me by letting me meet Zardariji and allow me to put forward my request," said Kaur.

Sarabjit Singh was convicted in 1991 after the Pakistan Government levelled charges of spying, bombing and killing 14 persons on him.

However, the family members of Sarabjit Singh say that he was innocent and he had crossed over into Pakistan accidentally in 1990.

Kaur also appealed the Indian government to raise the issue of her brother's release during the talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Zardari.

Meanwhile, Swapandeep, Sarabjit Singh's daughter, said the government must take swift measures to ensure the release of her father as he had already spent 22 years in Pakistan's jail.

"I would appeal to him (Pakistan President, Asif Ali Zardari) that he himself has children and he is also attached to them the way my father is attached to us. So, my father should be released early. He has already spent 22 years in the Pakistan's jail and it is a very severe punishment for merely crossing the border accidentally," said Swapandeep.

Though Zardari's visit is personal in nature, it is bound to have strong ramification on the relations between the two nations. Earlier in the day, the Indian Government asserted it could discuss with Zardari the ongoing row over Hafiz Saeed - founder of the radical Islamic extremist outfit, Lashkar-e-Taiba.

New Delhi had suspended the peace process between the two sides after the commando-style militant attacks in India's commercial capital Mumbai in 2008, blaming Pakistan-based militants for the death of 166 people.

Since then, officials from the two nations have met to improve ties but have shied away from resuming the dialogue that included resolving key differences, including dispute over Kashmir

Zardari had earlier visited the shrine in 2005, with his wife, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto, who was assassinated on December 27, 2007, was a firm believer of Chishti.

India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since their independence from British rule in 1947, have been slowly trying to repair relations and agreed to resume formal peace talks broken off in the wake of the Mumbai attack in 2008. (ANI)

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