A senior lawyer from Pakistan and his Indian counterpart have come together to urge the elites of the two countries to persuade Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to accept the mercy petition of Sarabjit Singh and set him free.

Sarabjit Singh is an Indian citizen and is on the death row in Pakistan following his conviction and its upholding by the Supreme Court of that country for the charges of carrying out blasts in which several persons were killed.

The trial court had awarded him death sentence 19 years ago in 1991.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, the two lawyers, Surat Singh of India and Awais Sheikh of Pakistan, said the release of Sarabjit Singh would create an environment for further betterment of relations between the two countries.

Mr. Sheikh has filed a fresh mercy petition before the President on behalf of Sarabjit following the dismissal of his review petition by the Pakistan Supreme Court.

The lawyers urged Mr. Zardari to get ‘substantive justice’ for Sarabjit using his discretionary powers in defence of human rights as he had so far received only ‘technical justice.’ The duo further stated that if the Pakistan President felt constrained in pardoning Sarabjit he could at least commute the Indian citizen’s sentence from capital punishment to life imprisonment.

The lawyers argued that the court had awarded two punishments to Sarabjit as he had already spent as many as 19 years in jail after the award of death sentence. They further said that if the execution of a convict slapped with death sentence did not take place for an unreasonably long period of time it was justifiable to commute his sentence to life imprisonment. They cited a case in the Supreme Court of Pakistan as a precedent.

Sarabjit’s elder sister Dalbir Kaur and his daughter Swapan Kaur were also present at the press meet.

Mr. Sheikh is the president of Pak-India Peace Initiatives that has been working for normalisation of relations between the two countries. He has planned a rally in Jaipur this coming Tuesday for release of Sarabjit.

More In: Delhi | National | News