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Rediff.com  » News » Kasab's hanging will NOT affect Sarabjit's case: Lawyer

Kasab's hanging will NOT affect Sarabjit's case: Lawyer

November 22, 2012 15:36 IST

Doubts have been raised about the fate of Sarabjit Singh -- an Indian jailed in Pakistan on charges of terror -- after Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab was hanged in a Pune jail on Wednesday.

But Sarabjit's lawyer Awais Sheikh says that the recent development will make no difference to the case.

Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur had earlier expressed fear that the possibility of "securing his release may fall victim to age-old Pakistan-India rivalry".

His family believes that the Indian government's decision to hang Kasab will "delay Sarabjit's release".

Sheikh told rediff.com, "Kasab's execution will make no difference as there is no link between his case and Sarabjit's case."

"Sarabjit's is a case of mistaken identity while Kasab was a terrorist who killed many people. Even the Pakistan government has admitted that," he said.

Sheikh believes that the case of Sarabjit was not handled properly by his former lawyer, otherwise he would have been a free man by now.

"I met Sarabjit recently. We also filed a fresh mercy appeal before President Asif Ali Zardari. According to my sources, the President is considering it," Sheikh told rediff.com.

Sarabjit has been lodged in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore since 1991. Pakistani authorities consider him as 'Manjit Singh' and he was convicted for his alleged involvement in the 1990 serial bomb blasts in Lahore and Faisalabad, which killed 14 people.

Sarabjit claims that he is a farmer who strayed into Pakistan from his village located on the border three months after the bombings. He was given the death penalty in 1991 but the date of his hanging has been repeatedly postponed.

So far, five mercy petitions have been filed on his behalf, in which Sarabjit maintains that he has languished in jail for 22 years for a crime he never committed.

On June 26, it was reported that Zardari had ordered his release, but later his pardon was revoked and it was claimed that another prisoner Surjeet Singh had been released, not Sarabjit.

Tahir Ali in Islamabad