Lahore: A Pakistani court has sought a
report from the Interior Ministry in response to a petition
seeking the release of Indian national Sarabjit Singh,
currently on death row following his conviction for alleged
involvement in bomb attacks in 1990.
Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik of the Lahore High Court
yesterday asked the Interior Ministry to file a reply by March
16, failing which the court would decide the matter on merit.
Sarabjit`s counsel Awais Sheikh had submitted the
petition seeking the inclusion of his client in a list of
foreigners languishing in Pakistani jails despite having
served their sentences.
Sheikh had asked the court to issue directions in this
respect to the Foreign Secretary and the superintendent of Kot
Lakhpat Jail, where Sarabjit is being held.
The prison superintendent had earlier informed the court
that though Sarabjit`s prison term had expired a year ago, his
fate would be decided in the light of directions from the
General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army and the presidency.
The superintendent said he had written four times to the
Inspectorate of Prisons and the Home Department of Punjab
province, seeking guidance on the issue in the light of
directions from the General Headquarters.
Sarabjit, imprisoned since 1990, was given the death
sentence under the Army Act for alleged involvement in four
bomb blasts that killed 14 people. He submitted a mercy
petition to the army chief, but it was rejected with a
direction that it should be forwarded to the President.
The superintendent said: "Singh`s sentence expired on Oct
30, 2010, and in the light of the General Headquarters`
directions his mercy petition was referred to the President
but there has been no progress on the plea so far."
Though Sarabjit was set to be hanged in 2008, Pakistani
authorities put off his execution indefinitely after Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani intervened in the matter.