Krishna welcomes Surjeet's release, seeks Sarabjit's freedom

 External Affairs Minister S M Krishna today welcomed the release of Indian prisoner Surjeet Singh and asked Pakistan to ''seriously ponder and consider'' setting free Sarabjit Singh, who is in a Lahore jail on death row.

"I am happy that Surjeet Singh is being released and I hope that Pakistan will also seriously ponder and consider and release Sarabjit Singh also," he told reporters on a sidelines of a function.

Noting that India has consistently urged the Pakistan government, on several occasions, to take a "sympathetic and humanitarian view" in the case of Sarabjit, Krishna, in a statement later, said, "I welcome this decision (on Surjeet) and further renew our request to the President of Pakistan to release Sarabjit who has been in custody for well over two decades and is serving a death sentence."

He also appealed to the Government of Pakistan to release all Indian nationals who have completed their prison terms and requested for the release of all other Indians who are serving jail sentences in Pakistani prisons.

Sarabjit's sister is to meet Krishna here today two days after a flip-flop by Pakistan.
Pakistani media reports quoting officials had first claimed that Sarabjit was being set free but hours later Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said it was Surjeet who was being released. According to some reports, the U-turn by Pakistan was done under the pressure of its army.

Sarabjit has been on death row for the last 20 years following his conviction for alleged involvement in series of bombings in Pakistan in 1990.

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