ISLAMABAD: The Presidency late on Tuesday issued a clarification that contrary to earlier reports, President Asif Ali Zardari has ordered for Indian prisoner Surjeet Singh to be released, Express News reported.
It had earlier been reported that Indian spy, Sarabjeet Singh, who was sentenced to death on September 15, 1991 on allegations that he was involved in three bomb blasts in Lahore and one in Multan, would not be sent to the gallows, and may be instead be released after his sentence was commuted to a life term.
However, the Presidential spokespeson Senator Farhatullah Babar confirmed that the Indian prisoner being released was Surjeet Singh, whose death penalty had been commuted to life term by former President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1989. His release orders were issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice since Surjeet had served his 22 year life term.
Surjeet Singh, alias Makhan Singh has been imprisoned since October 31, 1985 being convicted and sentenced to death under section 59-PAA by the commanding officer of the 106 Brigade Headquarter, Lahore Cantt. He had submitted his mercy petition before the chief of army staff which was rejected, but carried comments that the plea ought to be forwarded to the President of Pakistan.
The mercy petition was subsequently forwarded to then president of Pakistan Ghulam Ishaq Khan on December 24, 1985 but during the pendency of the mercy petition, a general amnesty to all condemned prisoners was granted.
Hence Surjeet Singh’s sentence was commuted from death to life imprisonment in compliance with orders of the president of Pakistan and from December 8, 1988, he has been treated as a prisoner serving a life term. In all, the information and correspondence with the Punjab secretary home, and inspector general of prisons Punjab his status is mentioned as a prisoner convicted for life.
Surjeet Singh’s sentence had expired on October 30, 2010 but in light of direction of GHQ his mercy petition was referred to the president.