Zardari assures India on Sarabjit release

Bringing some hope to the family of Sarabjit Singh, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday assured India that he will consider the case of the Indian prisoner who has been on death row in the country for over 20 years.

This was conveyed by Zardari to External Affairs Minister S M Krishna who called on the Pakistani President here on Friday. Zardari asked officials to take note of the details of Sarabjit’s case, official sources said.

Krishna is understood to have told the Pakistan government that it should take steps to release imprisoned Sarabjit, who has been in solitary confinement since 1990. He stressed that the Pakistan government was yet to release Sarabjit despite several mercy petitions.

Krishna told Zardari that Sarabjit’s release would help in the improvement of relations between India and Pakistan.

Sarabjit has claimed that he, a farmer from Punjab, strayed into Pakistan by mistake. He has filed five mercy petitions so far. Media reports said that on June 26, 2012, President Zardari ordered his release. However, five hours later, his pardon was revoked and another prisoner, Surjeet Singh, was released.

Krishna held a 30-minute discussion with Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. The focus of discussion was terror. Ashraf was understood to have told Krishna that he was prepared to examine any step that would be deemed necessary in controlling terror in Pakistan. In a  discussion, Krishna insisted that Pakistan should take steps to control terrorism originating on its soil.

Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who met Krishna at a reception in the evening, told journalists that India should appreciate the law of land. “You should understand the judicial process,” he said. “Sarabjit is enjoying good health. His health is fine and there is no problem. We have not denied access to his family.”

Asked when he would visit India, Malik said: “Let your home minister come here first. I have invited him. Let him enjoy our hospitality. After that I will come when I get an invite.”

Earlier on his arrival, Krishna said the leadership of India and Pakistan have mandated building of trust an

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