Over 100,000 people in India, including former test cricketers and chief justices, have signed a petition addressed to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari seeking clemency for Sarabjit Singh, an Indian currently on death row in a Pakistani prison.
Awais Sheikh, the counsel for Sarabjit, was quoted by a private television channel as saying that said he had brought back a mercy petition with more than 100,000 signatures from a recent visit to India.
“The signatories include former test cricketer Kapil Dev, the Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Syed Amin Hashmi of the Ajmer Sharif shrine, former Chief Justices R S Mongia and Rajindar Sachar, members of Indian human rights groups, Christian and Muslim bodies, doctors, engineers, lawyers, farmers and students,” Sheikh said.
Sheikh said he would submit the mercy petition to the President and also apprise him about the sentiments of the Indians in this regard.
“Since Sarabjit has been in prison for long, his sentence can be commuted to life imprisonment under the law,” he said. Commuting Sarabjit’s sentence will help improve relations between India and Pakistan, he added.
Sarabjit has been on death row since he was convicted for alleged involvement in four bomb blasts in Pakistan’s Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990. His family insists that he was wrongly convicted for the bombings.
Though he was to be hanged on April 1 last year, Pakistani authorities put off his execution indefinitely after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani intervened in the matter.