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'Musharraf has no power to pardon Sarabjit'
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March 10, 2006 19:39 IST

Pakistan Law Minister Wasi Zafar Friday said President Pervez Musharraf [Images] has no power to pardon alleged Indian spy Sarabjit Singh, whose review petition against the death sentence has been rejected by the Supreme Court.

"As per the Supreme Court judgement in a previous case, the President has no power to pardon," Zafar told PTI in Islamabad adding, the only avenue left for Singh was to reopen the case with new evidence rather than filing a mercy petition before Musharraf.

The Pakistan Supreme Court Thursday rejected the review petition of Singh, who was condemned to death for allegedly spying and carrying out four bomb blasts in Pakistan.

Zafar said under Section 402C of the CrPC in the 'hurt and murder' cases no one else except the legal heirs of the victims can pardon the accused.

"So no one else, even the President, has the power to do it," he said.

However, Singh's lawyer Rana Abdul Hameed contested the claim.

"The minister is not correct. Article 45 of the Constitution of Pakistan grants power to the president to pardon and it has not been amended and until it does, the president has the power to pardon," he said.

Hameed said he is planning to file a mercy petition after the Supreme Court gives its verdict on Singh's review petition on one more case, which deals with three blast cases.

The defence lawyer also pointed that Musharraf granted pardon to deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was sentenced to life for allegedly preventing Musharraf's plane from landing.

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