Sarabjit Singh, is an Indian citizen, currentlyimprisoned in solitary confinement in Pakistan.Pakistani authorities consider him as Manjit Singh,convicted for his alleged involvement in 1990 serialbomb blasts in Lahore and Faisalabad that killed 14people. Sarabjit claims that he is a farmer and victim ofmistaken identity, who strayed into Pakistan from hisvillage located on the border, three months after thebombings. He was given death sentence in 1991, buthis hanging was repeatedly postponed. He isimprisoned in the Kot Lakhpat jail since 1990. So farfive mercy petitions have been filed on his behalf, inwhich Sarabjit maintains that he has suffered twentytwo years of prison for a crime he never committed. On26th June 2012, it was reported that PakistansPresident had ordered his release after the petitionwas filed on 28th May earlier this year. 5 hours laterthis pardon was revoked and it was claimed thatanother prisoner Surjeet Singh was released notSarabjit. The confusion over the release of SurjeetSingh instead of Sarabjit Singh has proved to be aninternational embarrassment for Pakistan government.RS
Sarabjit hails fromthe Bhikhiwind village locatedalong the India-Pakistanborder in Tarn Tarandistrict of Punjab,India Sarabjit was marriedand had two daughters duringthe time of his arrest on theborder by Pakistaniauthorities. His sister DalbirKaur had been working forhis release.
On the night of August 28, 1990 Sarabjit wasarrested near his village on the Indo-Pakistaniborder near Kasur by Pakistani border guards.Sarabjit claimed that he was a poor farmer whowas drunk and had strayed off the border. Thesecurity forces had arrested him in aninebriated state, as a case of mistaken identity.He was initially apprehended for illegallycrossing the India-Pakistani border. But aftereight days, Pakistani police implicated him inthe terrorist bombings. The Pakistani authoritiesalleged he was Manjit Singh, responsible for thestring of 4 blasts in Faislabad and Lahore in1990 in which 14 people were killed, threemonths prior to Sarabjits arrest. It was allegedthat he was arrested while returning back intoIndia after carrying out the bombings. Hewas accused of working for Indian intelligenceand was viewed as a terrorist in Pakistan. Hewas convicted of spying and carrying the bombblasts and was handed death penalty.
Shaukat Salim, a key witness in thecase against Sarabjit, was caughton tape retracting his statement onApril 26, 2008. Salims father andother relatives were killed in theattack. Although In court and hehad said that Sarabjit was the onewho had planted the bomb. Butlater on he accepted that he hadmade the statements implicatingSarabjit under pressure from thePakistani police. Meanwhile,Sarabjits lawyer Abdul Rana Hamidtold Indian News Channel CNN-IBN that Salims statements have novalue as they were never recordedin court.CASE
Sarabjit Singh’s relatives claim he is asimple farmer who was arrested after hestrayed across the Pakistani border fromhis northern frontier hometown ofBhikiwind in Punjab state while drunk in1990. His wife Sukh Prit Kaur, a residentof Bhikhiwind village of districtTarantaran, claimed he left to plough hisfields near Wagah Border on August 28,1990, but never returned. She said the family launched a searchbut could not find any clue to hiswhereabouts for nine months and finallythey received a letter from Sarabjitinforming them that he was caught byPakistani border forces when hemistakenly crossed the border under theinfluence of liquor.
Singhs relatives, including his wife Sukh Prit Kaur, twodaughters Swapan Deep and Poonam Kaur, sister and herhusband, went to Pakistan in a last-ditch attempt to savehim in March 2008 when his hanging was to be carried out.They met former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and otherPakistani politicians for his release. Sharif said,"Afterseeing the plight of the members of Sarabjits family whohave come to Pakistan, any person can feel the pain theyare going through.""We are hopeful that the government of Pakistan willrelease Sarabjit Singh after reviewing his death sentenceand our visit to Pakistan will not prove futile",saidSarabjit’s wife at Gurdwara Dera Sahib after her arrival atthe city via Wagah on Wednesday.External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh took up SarabjitSingh’s case with Pakistan High Commissioner AzizAhmed Khan and urged him to convey Delhi’s hopethat Islamabad would treat the matter as a humanitarianissue.on 23 August 2005 the case was taken in both the housesof Indian Parliament, where the government was asked totake necessary action for his release.IT
In 2009 a British lawyer Jas Uppal hadstarted an online campaign"freesarabjeet.com" to highlight his caseand requesting human rights group tointervene in his case. Awaish SheikhSarabjits present lawyer from Pakistanhas been supporting the campaign andhas provided his services free of chargeto Sarabjit.Bollywood actor and activist RazaMurad has been campaigning for hisrelease. Until June 2012 he had collecteda 1,38,226 signatures to supportSarabjits release. After a flip-flop by thePakistani government regarding hisrelease in June 2012, he has intensifiedhis Free Sarabjit campaign .In June2012, Bollywood actor Salman Khan hascome forward to seek support frompeople and media for the release ofSarabjit. He has started an online petitionfrom his NGO Being Human in support ofhis release