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BJP to Centre: Seek release of Sarabjit if Chishty is freed

Kamlesh Barjati

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.New Delhi, Jun 17 (PTI) With a Supreme Court judge pleading for the release of a Pakistani prisoner, the BJP today found it "odd" but said if the Centre were to consider the request, it should make "fresh efforts" to secure the release of Sarabjit Singh who is on death row in Lahore.

"It is odd that an SC judge is writing to the PM for securing the release of a Pakistani prisoner, even in his individual capacity," BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters while referring to the plea made by Justice Markandey Katju to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the release of Khalil Chishty.

"In case the government decides to consider this request, it must also separately secure the early release of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, by making fresh efforts."

The SC judge had sought the release of Chishty, a micro-biologist from Karachi languishing in Indian jails for the past 20 years, on humanitarian grounds under Article 72 of the Constitution.

Sarabjit, who hails from Punjab, was convicted and sentenced to death by a court in Pakistan in 1991 for his alleged involvement in terrorist attacks there.
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