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Islamabad | Jun 27, 2012 | IBN Live :: Hours after reports emerged that Pakistan was to free Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, the presidential spokesman on Tuesday night clarified that authorities had taken steps for the release of another Indian prisoner named Surjeet Singh who has been jailed for three decades.
“I think there is some confusion. First, it is not a case of pardon. More importantly, it is not Sarabjit. It is Surjeet Singh, son of Sucha Singh. His death sentence was commuted in 1989 by President (Ghulam) Ishaq (Khan) on the advice of (then premier) Benazir Bhutto,” presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar told PTI.
Law Minister Farooq Naek on Tuesday conveyed to the Interior Ministry that Surjeet Singh had completed his life term in jail and ought to be released and sent back to India, Babar said. Read here details.
He is likely to be allowed to return to Punjab soon. He has spent 21 years on death row and is currently in a prison in Lahore. This May, he filed his fifth petition for clemency.
India’s Minister for External Affairs SM Krishna thanked Mr Zardari for commuting Sarabjit’s sentence.
Sarabjit Singh’s daughter Swapandeep said she would go to the border with her mother and sister to receive her father.
“We always had faith in God and we knew our efforts to get him back would be successful,” said Swapandeep, emotional and often breaking down as she spoke.
Sarabjit Singh was convicted for blasts in Lahore and Multan in 1990. At least 10 people were killed in those attacks. He has argued that he is innocent, and that he is a farmer from Tarn-Taran who crossed the border by mistake.
Sarabjit was first given the death sentence by a Pakistani judge in 1991. Several appeals were rejected by different courts including the Supreme Court. Former Pakistani President had rejected his mercy petition.
His family has campaigned relentlessly for his release.
Last month, Pakistani prisoner, Dr Khalil Chishty, who was in the Ajmer jail for 20 years, returned to his country. The 80-year-old virologist was in jail in a 1992 murder case.