New Delhi: A senior Pakistan Government official has confirmed CNN-IBN’s report that Indian prisoners Sarabjit Singh and Kripal Singh would also be a part of general amnesty announced by the Pakistan Prime Minister on Saturday.
Zaffer Abbasi, Additional Secretary in the Pakistan Interior Ministry, told CNN-IBN in a telephonic interview that all prisoners “across the board” would be considered for the amnesty. Excerpts from the interview.
CNN-IBN: What did PM exactly say in his speech yesterday about amnesty to prisoners on death row?
HOPE FLOATS: Sarabjit Singh was given the death sentence after being found guilty of terrorism.
Zaffer Abbasi: The PM has said that they are recommending to the President because it's his prerogative to convert all death sentences to lifer imprisonment. This is his power under the constitution, so he asked Minister of Interior to move a summary recommending all death sentences to be commuted.
CNN-IBN: Will that include Indian prisoners Sarabjit and Kirpal Singh as well?
Zaffer Abbasi: Yes. It will be across the board.
CNN-IBN: Can you explain the rider on the 90-day remission?
Zaffer Abbasi: Prisoners serving for heinous crimes we have avoided—no 90-day remission to people serving under terror charges.
CNN-IBN: So this means that Indian prisoners, Sarabjit and Kripal Singh will be released soon?
Zaffer Abbasi: After getting approval we will do the calculations and if a prisoner has already undergone life imprisonment then he will be released.
CNN-IBN: Are you sure that it will also apply to Indian prisoners?
Zaffer Abbasi: No discrimination among prisoners—it’s across the board—no discrimination will be there.
CNN-IBN: What time are you expecting this file to come back from the President’s office?
Zaffer Abbasi: No idea. It can come any moment.
CNN-IBN: Are you sure that this will be done?
Zaffer Abbasi: I don’t know yet. Once we have approval—but since our PM has made the announcement, which has come in all the newspapers and TV channels then you should believe what he is saying
CNN-IBN: But do you think it will be approved?
Zaffer Abbasi: I can’t say…the President has the prerogative.
CNN-IBN: Any past incidents like this?
Zaffer Abbasi: There are few presidents who made special considerations in the past.
CNN-IBN: But if PM sends summary then do you think it’s bound to be approved?
Zaffer Abbasi: Generally yes.