Punjab assembly seeks Sarabjit's release

While hailing the release of Indian prisoner Surjeet Singh from Lahore prison a day ago, the Punjab assembly Friday unanimously passed a resolution seeking the immediate release of another prisoner, Sarabjit Singh, who is on the death row in Pakistan.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal moved a resolution Friday in the assembly asking the Pakistani and Indian governments to ensure that Sarabjit Singh was released at the earliest.

The resolution was seconded by Leader of Opposition Sunil Jakhar and adopted unanimously by the house.

Hailing the release of Surjeet Singh, who returned to India after spending over 30 years in Pakistani prisons on spying charges, Badal said that the state government would provide financial and other assistance to [Surjeet].

'I have asked the Ferozepur deputy commissioner for a report in this regard and the state government would do all it can to help him,' Badal told the assembly.

Pakistan had done a flip-flop late Tuesday after announcing that President Asif Ali Zardari had commuted Sarabjit's death sentence and that he would be released.

Later, the presidential spokesman said that instead of Sarabjit, another Indian prisoner, Surjeet Singh, who has been languishing in Pakistani jails for over three decades on spying charges, would be released.

Sarabjit's family claims that he had inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan in an inebriated state in August 1990 and was arrested there. He hails from Bhikhiwind village along the India-Pakistan border, 280 km from Chandigarh. He was later identified as Manjit Singh and accused of planting two bombs in Pakistan which claimed 14 lives. He was sentenced to death by Pakistani courts even though his family here claimed that he was innocent.


Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has urged the people of Pakistan to help him in efforts to free Sarabjit Singh, the Indian who is on death row in the neighbouring country.

'Requesting the people of Pakistan to support me to help free Sarabjit, who has been in prison since 30 yrs. Please. Allah ka vasta [for god's sake],' Salman tweeted.

'Request the awam [people] of Pakistan, members of the press, Govt of Pakistan, President [Asif Ali Zardari] Zardari, a humble request. It would be the most amazing gesture to send Sarabjit back to his family after 30 years. Hope you support me like it's your own cause,' he added.

Hours after reports emerged that Pakistan was to free Sarabjit, the officials clarified that another Indian prisoner named Surjeet Singh, who has been in jail for three decades, would be released instead. The change of stance created a stir across India.

The actor was upset after he saw Sarabjit's family in dispair. 'I saw a picture of Sarabjit's sister, it killed me. Felt real sad for her. Help me, help her,' he tweeted further.
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