ibnlive » India

Jun 22, 2008 at 12:47am IST

Sarabjit release news comes with a rider

New Delhi: On Benazir Bhutto's 55th birth anniversary, a declaration from Islamabad gave new hope to convicted Indian Sarabjit Singh. Prime Minister Gilani told the Parliament Interior Ministry will be asked to, “move a summary to President Pervez Musharraf to commute the sentence of those on death row to life imprisonment".

A formal recommendation seeking to commute the death sentences on 7,000 prisoners on Pakistani death row, including Sarabjit and Kripal, is now going to President Musharraf.

If the President signs on it, release and repatriation to India is not far away.

But there could be a caveat here. “There is still some confusion we should get a clearer idea in a little while. But the PPP has always been opposed to death row and is keen to improve Indo-Pak ties. So the government would be more favourably inclined to treat Sarabjit’s case in a more humane manner. But we shouldn’t read too much into the announcement and link it with Foreign Minister's visit to India,” said PTI correspondent Rezaul Lashkar.

Sources in Islamabad told CNN-IBN that though Sarabjit has been convicted of a terror bomb attack that killed many people, he will get off as his crime does not fall in the heinous category.

In the absence of clarity, one will probably have to wait for the Pakistan foreign minister's arrival to Delhi next week on his first visit to get some sense of where this could be going.

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