New Delhi: Embracing Islam will not help Indian national Sarabjit Singh escape the noose for his alleged involvement in a series of bomb blasts in Lahore, Pakistan's Law Minister Muhammad Wasi Zafar said here on Thursday.
Reacting to news reports that Sarabjit had converted to Islam, he said Pakistani laws do not discriminate between religions and if he has been found guilty by the courts he has to face execution.
"That is the law of the land. It does not vary from man to man and faith to faith," said Mr. Zafar, who is here to attend the 45th annual session of the Asian African Legal Consultative Organisation.
Asked if it was a desperate act on the part of a prisoner awaiting a decision on his mercy petition , the Minister said: "He (Sarabjit) says he has done it according to his own free will. It dispels all such impressions."
Explaining the legal position, Mr. Zafar said that even President Pervez Musharraf did not have the power to pardon Sarabjit as the matter fell within the jurisdiction of the Interior Minister.
"No one is empowered to pardon him. Neither the Executive nor the Legislature... Not even the President or the courts. Section 402 of Pakistani Penal Code is very clear. It says no one except the legal heirs of the victim can pardon the convict," said Mr. Zafar, a lawyer by profession.
"The Government does not have to do anything with it. They (victim's family) have to inform the court about the pardon,'' he added. Pakistani daily Ausaf had reported that Sarabjit, now in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore, had converted to Islam, and written a will asking his family to bury him.
No official information
Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit Singh, and his daughter Swapandeep Kaur denied reports that Sarabjit had embraced Islam.
"We have been in constant touch with Sarabjit's lawyer, Rana Abdul Hamid, and he has given no such information," they said. PTI, UNI