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Pak Ministry recommends noose for Sarabjit
Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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May 14, 2008 03:19 IST

In a setback to Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, Pakistan's Interior Ministry has recommended that his capital punishment should not be commuted to life imprisonment contending such an action could 'encourage subversive activities'.

Sarabjit's case was reviewed on Tuesday at a high-level meeting in the Interior Ministry that was attended by officials of the Foreign Office and the ministries of Law and Human Rights, Dawn News channel reported.

Sarabjit is accused of triggering bomb blasts in Lahore [Images] in 1990 and has been languishing in Pakistan prisons for nearly two decades.

Dawn News channel quoted unnamed sources as saying that the Interior Ministry had recommended that Sarabjit's death sentence should not be commuted to life imprisonment as such a pardon would 'encourage subversive activities by Indian terrorists'.

Law Ministry officials informed the meeting that Sarabjit could not be handed over to India while Foreign Office officials said India should agree to release Pakistani prisoners in its jails in exchange for commuting his death sentence.

Pakistani authorities had recently put off Sarabjit's hanging indefinitely.

Sarabjit was originally set to be hanged on April 1 and his execution was initially deferred for 30 days by President Pervez Musharraf [Images]. This was done so that Pakistan's new government could review his case following an appeal for clemency from the Indian government.

Following Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's intervention, Pakistani authorities put off the execution 'till further orders'.

Sarabjit was sentenced to death for his alleged involvement in four bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990. His family insists that he is innocent and was wrongly convicted for the attacks.

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