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May 02, 2013 at 12:39pm IST

Sarabjit Singh's sister says Pak activist Ansar Burney demanded Rs 25 crore to save her brother

New Delhi: Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh's sister Dalbir Kaur appealed on Thursday to all countrymen to unite and attack Pakistan, where her brother breathed his last in the wee hours of the day after remaining comatose for nearly a week following a brutal assault by his fellow inmates in a high-security Lahore jail.

"Pakistan is a coward. It's time to wage a war against it," said Kaur, while addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. Sarabjit died of a cardiac arrest at Jinnah Hospital in Lahore in the wee hours of Thursday.

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He was convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990 and had spent about 22 years in Pakistan prisons. His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former president Pervez Musharraf. The previous Pakistan People's Party-led government put off Sarabjit's execution for an indefinite period in 2008. Sarabjit's family claims he was the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state.

"Today Sarabjit has become a martyr because allegations were made against him because he was an Indian," she said. "Today Zardari has murdered Sarabjit for elections in Pakistan," Kaur added.

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"Earlier Pakistan stabbed Vajpayee's back and today they have stabbed Manmohan Singh. I appeal to all political parties to come together and support Manmohan Singh and Sushil Kumar Shinde," Kaur said as she broke out at various occasions while speaking to the media.

Kaur said Pakistan has murdered her brother and alleged that Pakistan human rights activist Ansar Burney had demanded Rs 25 crore to help Sarabjit. "Had I paid Rs 25 crore to Ansar Burney, Sarabjit would have returned to India. I am poor so could not pay him. Burney had told me that at least pay Rs 2 crore to get Sarabjit. He told him that if I will give him the money in the morning, Sarabjit will be released by evening," she alleged.

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Sarabjit's sister also said she has appealed to Shinde to cancel visas of people from Pakistan. The Home Minister visited the family of Sarabjit in New Delhi on Thursday morning. "Shinde has said that this (Sarabjit's death) will be investigated and the matter taken up at the highest level," Kaur told reporters.

"Home Minister Shinde has assured me that Sarabjit will be given state honour," she said, adding that the last rites of her brother will take place at their village Bhikhiwind on Friday.

Kaur said though she has lost her brother, she will continue to fight for other Indian prisoners lodged in Pakistan prisons. "The government should take steps to ensure the safety of other Indian prisoners in Pakistan jails. Now I shall fight for the other Indians in Pakistani jails," she said.