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  Asia-Pacific
Sarabjit's Release May Prove a Milestone
By Tanveer Jafri
Contributing Writer
Indian Citizen Sarabjit Singh

Indian Citizen Sarabjit Singh has been waiting for his safe release for the last 18 years from Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore, Pakistan. The death warrant of Sarabjit Singh has been sent to this jail by Pakistan government. According to this warrant, Sarabjit was to be hanged on April 1, 2008 but on the request of Government of India, the hanging was postponed for a month. It is known that there were four different bomb blasts in 1990 in Lahore & Multan, the cities of Pakistan, 14 Pakistani citizens died in these bomb blasts & several other were injured. Indian citizen Sarabjit was arrested in Pakistan during that time. He was accused of playing a main role in those blasts.

After spending 18 years in Pakistan jail, Sarabjit was sentenced to death by Pakistan court. After the declaration of this sentence, Sarabjit made a mercy appeal to President Parvez Musharraf. But a few weeks back, that appeal was dismissed by the president office & Sarabjit who was waiting for his release in Kot Lakhpat jail, had to face death warrant. Some new obstacles have come that have obstructed his release. For example, last days an Indian citizen Kashmir Singh who was in Pakistan jail was released. Kashmir Singh was also accused of spying in Pakistan. But after spending more than 20 years in Pak jail, he was released on March 8. On reaching the native land, Kashmir Singh was too excited, it s to be said that he gave some statements that proved harmful for Sarabjit who is in Pak jail.

Second loss came to Sarabjit when a cricket lover, Khalid Mehmood 35, from Lahore, who came to India in April 2005, didn't go back to Pakistan even after the time period allowed staying in his visa, died here in custody. He was arrested in Faridabad under doubtful circumstances & was sent to Bhondsi jail near Delhi. Unfortunately, Khalid Mehmood died of liver disease on February 12 this year. Just within the few days of sending Khalid Mehmood's dead body to Pakistan by government of India, a death warrant of Sarabjit was sent to Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore. It was given a good time by Pakistan media saying that his death was not natural but he was killed, whereas the government of India had told the government of Pakistan that he died because of his fatal disease. He had vomited blood before his death. After this incident, there was discussion in Pak media that Pakistan has given Kashmir Singh alive to India & in return India hands over the dead body of young Khalid Mehmood to Pakistan.

Despite all these fatal incidents in the life of Sarabjit, there is probability that Pakistan government will not hang him. The relatives of Sarabjit are totally discharging the fact that the arrested person is Sarabjit Singh & not Manjit Singh as being told by Pakistan. For fighting the case of Sarabjit, the former human rights minister Ansar Burney who is an advocate & a social worker & had recently came to India from Pakistan, has collected real proofs that are connected with the identity & innocence of Sarabjit from his near & dear ones. These proofs will be helpful to prove his innocence, Burney has promised before the Indian media that if Sarabjit is innocent, he will not let him hanged. The family members of Sarabjit have stated that Sarabjit is a gentleman. One day he crossed the border in darkness while he was intoxicated. He was arrested by the Pakistan police.

There are some facts that are far away from the above accusations & shouldn't be ignored. First of all in the present scene of globalization, India & Pakistan have to decide the future path; they are to advance on, in the direction of love, harmony, progress & peaceful atmosphere or violence, anarchy, failure or confusion. It is necessary to have a look on the fresh statements of Pakistan Peoples Party leader Asif Ali Zardari. Zardari has suggested keeping aside the controversial issues as Kashmir & work together on the other projects. Besides this, Zardari has given good statements about the Pakistan visit of Kashmir leader Mehbooba Mufti. He clearly stated that the Kashmiri youths should be given education & not guns. Undoubtedly it is useful for the family & society, to be educated instead of spreading terrorism.

As far as India is concerned, it has always tried to follow the soft attitude with Pakistan. There may be issues like infiltration in Kargil, the big & severe attacks on the Indian Parliament & as many other holy places in India, the training camps being run in Pakistan & the issue of giving shelter to Daud Ibrahim, the most wanted, criminal in India & despite all these dangerous facts, India has always tried to have harmonious atmosphere with Pakistan. In such occasions, it is not proper to propagate that death of an ordinary person like Khalid Mehmood is a misdeed of India. Indian government doesn't have such inferior thought. It can't plot to kill a person whose visa time period has finished. So, if it is a revenge of the incident of Khalid Mehmood from Sarabjit is not moral.

To have spent 18 years in jail, can also become an important reason for release of Sarabjit. The probability is that the new government in Pakistan can reach a new decision on the Sarabjit issue. To postpone the hanging of Sarabjit for one month gives a sign of soft attitude by Pakistan. Otherwise Sarabjit would have been hanged on the last April 1. The soft attitude of new government in Pakistan & the efforts of Ansar Burney, the advocate of Sarabjit in Pak, all these show that there is probability of changing the death sentence of Sarabjit to life imprisonment. It is so the expectations of his release will be strong because he has already spent 18 years in jail. It is told that the life sentence in Pakistan is 14 years are to spend in jail.

Anyhow, India hopes from the new government of Pakistan & President Musharraf that they will take a positive decision & will not be incited by revenge so that both the countries & their citizens may advance towards a bright, trustworthy & progressive fortune.



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Other Articles by Tanveer Jafri
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Mr.Tanveer Jafri, who serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times, is a noted columnist in India. He writes on a variety of issues including world peace, anti-terrorism, and national & international politics for numerous news dailies and portals in India. As a devoted social activist he is a member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy.

 

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