India’s Foreign Minister SM Krishna renewed his country’s request for the immediate release of Sarabjeet Singh, The Hindu reported on Wednesday, a day after the confusion in names of two prisoners resulted in much speculation.
Pakistani media reported earlier that Sarabjeet was being released, but the person in question turned out to be Sarjeet Singh, another prisoner who has served nearly 30 years in a Pakistani prison after being convicted of espionage.
While Indian diplomats were stoic after reports filtered on Monday evening about Islamabad’s plans to release Sarabjeet, Krishna immediately welcomed the decision with his office not bothering to get a confirmation from the Indian mission in Islamabad.
However, Krishna covered his tracks on Tuesday with a more careful statement. While thanking President Zardari on the basis of ‘reports about the impending release’ of another long-time Indian prisoner Sarjeet Singh, he renewed his request for the release of Sarabjeet Singh.
“I welcome this decision and further renew our request to the president of Pakistan to release Sarabjeet Singh who has been in custody for well over two decades and is serving a death sentence. I also appeal to the government of Pakistan to release all Indian nationals who have completed their prison terms,” Krishna told the media.
Sarabjeet was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court for his involvement in a string of deadly bombings in Punjab in the ’80s and beginning of the ’90s.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2012.
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