September 02, 2005

Sarabjit's identity being confirmed: India

India has said it was confirming the identity of Sarabjit, sentenced to death in Pakistan, on the basis of information given by him during Consular access in Lahore jail earlier this week.

"We are checking details. He (Sarabjit) has said he is so and so. That is being checked," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna told reporters while responding to a question.

"After consular access is the confirmation of identity," he said.

Sarabjit has been sentenced to death by the Pakistan Supreme Court for his alleged involvement in 1990 bomb blasts. Pakistan says he is Manjit Singh, an Indian spy but Sarabjit insists that his identity has been got wrong by the Pakistani authorities.

After an uproar here, Pakistan gave Consular access to him. Two officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad met Sarabjit on Tuesday on high-security Kot Lakhpat Jail near Lahore.

"The officials met him, talked to him. He seemed to be good health. The officials left some provisions for him. He said he is Sarabjit and gave letters to the officials, one for wife and one for his sister," Sarna said giving details of the Consular access.

Asked whether the letters had reached their destination, he said he was not aware.

Advani appeals to Musharraf for Sarabjit's release

BJP President L K Advani has made a "personal" appeal to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to intervene and get released Sarabjit Singh, facing death sentence there.

"The whole world will praise him and all Indians will be forever indebted to him if he does," Advani said after a meeting with members of Singh's family, including his sister Dalbir Kaur and wife Sukhbir Kaur.

They had joined BJP on Thursday.

"I hope that our government can put enough pressure on Pakistan to arrange for Sarabjit's release," he said.

Advani said the whole nation was concerned about the farmer who strayed across the border and now faced death sentence in the name of Manjit Singh.

"I hope that after Advaniji's appeal, President Musharraf will release Sarabjit in the best interests of Indo-Pak relationship," Dalbir Kaur said.

She maintained that succesive governments were to be equally blamed for Sarabjit's condition.

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