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Jun 25, 2009 at 04:10am IST

Lahore high court rejects Sarabjit's plea

New Delhi: Convicted 18 years ago of a bomb attack in Lahore which he vehemently denies, Sarabjit Singh's trials are unlikely to end anytime soon.

The Lahore High Court dismissed his petition seeking review of the death penalty.

The reason for the courts decision was that his lawyer failed to turn up on his behalf.

In fact, Rana Hamid is now the additional advocate general of Punjab province and was apparently preoccupied although sources in Lahore claimed intimidation by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

However, Rana Hamid has denied such allegations and said, “We will appeal to the court and order will be reversed”

Hamid is optimistic and is expected to file an appeal soon but the news came as a slap to Sarabjit's family across the border in India.

Sarabjit’s wife Sukhpreet Kaur said, “It has more than 19 years since he has remained imprisoned. My husband is innocent. He is an ordinary man.”

India's response was muted calling sympathy from the Pakistani authorities.

Minister of External Affairs, S M Krishnan said, “Sarabjit’s case has touched sentiments of many people in India. We have consistently urged the government of Pakistan to take a sympathetic and humanitarian view in this case. It is our hope that they will find it possible to do so.”

Fingers crossed and hoping against hope that Pakistan will set Sarabjit free although there have been few indications from Islamabad in recent times to suggest a change of heart on Sarabjit.

(With inputs from Surya Gangadharan)