Katju On Sarabjit’s Release

Letter to Senator Iqbal asking for help in releasing Sarabjit

Newslaundry comments: Full marks for perseverance and dedication to the cause.  The Pakistanis will cave sooner or later. Just to stop the barrage of letters.


Dear Senator Iqbal, We in India are very happy over Dr. Chishty’s release and return home. 

Now I wish to request you all to do something in Sarabjit Singh’s case. He is an Indian in a Pakistan jail for 22 years, 21 of which have been on death row. He was convicted for involvement in the Lahore bomb blast of 1990 in which 14 people were killed. I was going through some details of his case and found that the main prosecution witness, Shaukat Salim, later in a taped statement retracted his statement in Court and said that it was given under police pressure. The other evidence against him is said to be his alleged confession, but we all know how confessions are obtained in both our countries (by third degree methods).


My own opinion is that he had gone to Pakistan to do some illegal business (he claimed he had gone to do illegal liquor trade), but he was certainly not involved in the Lahore bomb blast of 1990. Unfortunately the atmosphere in both our countries is so vitiated that often we regard people of each other’s countries as devils, and both Dr. Chishty and Sarabjit were victims of this mindset.


I sent 3 appeals to President Zardari for granting him pardon , the first through the Pakistan High Commissioner to India Mr. Shahid Malik, the second through Mr. Ansar Burney who met me at my residence in Delhi some time back, and the third through Dr. Chishty who was returning to Pakistan. There has been no response from President Zardari to any of these letters.


Sarabjit has been on death row ( not merely in jail) for 21 years, with a damocles sword hanging over his head all the time. This surely is enough to drive anyone mad. Is this not punishment enough (even assuming he was guilty, about which I have grave reservations)?


In my opinion the prestige of Pakistan will go up if he is released and sent back to India. That will also help in improving the vitiated atmosphere in our countries Sarabjit’s family members, including his sister Dalbir Kaur and his grown up children have met me in Delhi and I promised them that I will do my best to secure his release and return to India as I think injustice was done to him (just as I think injustice was done to Dr. Chishty). So please help in any way you can.



Justice Katju


Image Source [http://www.flickr.com/photos/phattatz/4501470765/sizes/l/in/photostream/]

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