Burney Invites Sarabjit's Family To Visit Pak

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Old 16-Apr-2008
Post Burney Invites Sarabjit's Family To Visit Pak


Chandigarh April 16:
Crossing the man-made Indo-Pak border, it's an invitation that has the potential to melt hearts and rekindle hopes.
Pakistan's former human rights minister Ansar Burney extended a 'dawatnama' to Sarabjit Singh's family for a visit to Pakistan. Burney is also a member of United Nations Human Rights Council and had played a predominant role in Kashmir Singh's release. The development came a day after the beleaguered family informed about the Pakistan government rejecting their visa applications.
Hoping against hope, Dalbir Kaur, Sarabjit's sister, called upon Burney on Tuesday morning. In his attempt to save the family during such trying times, Burney deftly thought of a way that might just end the deadlock. Now, with his offer to host Sarabjit's family, the onus has shifted from the Pakistan government, onto him. Significantly, sources had said that the main reason for the applications being rejected was Pakistan government's fear about the family causing themselves harm there.
Giving details about the bottleneck that apparently led to rejection of visa applications, advocate Arvind Thakur, through whom Sarabjit's daughter Swapandeep had filed petitions with Amnesty International and United Nations, said, "The visa was not rejected per se but an objection was raised by authorities here that there was no invitation from Pakistan for the family. We took up the matter with the embassy here, and simultaneously with Burney, asking him to send an invitation, to which he (Burney) agreed."
Thakur, who runs an NGO called Global Human Rights Council, added that Farhad Burney, the vice-chairman of Ansar Burney Trust, had assured to provide legal support and other facilities for Sarabjit's family when they reached Pakistan. Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur said, "Burney said the letters of invitation will be sent to our family as well as Pakistan High Commission tomorrow. I also contacted the foreign affairs ministry in New Delhi, requesting them to help us visit Pakistan. They assured full support."
Encouraged by Burney's help, once again, Dalbir added, "I am sure that Sarabjit is not alone in Pakistan anymore. He has a brother named Ansar Burney, who will fight for his rights on humanitarian grounds." She had met Burney when he was in Chandigarh and discussed the case in great detail. The Pakistan human rights activist, who was here on an invitation from Punjab government, had visited Sarabjit's house in Amritsar and assured his family that he would take up the case in light of fresh evidences back home.
Apart from Dalbir, her husband Baldev Singh, Sarabjit's wife Sukhpreet Kaur and daughters - Swapandeep and Poonam - had applied for visas to meet Sarabjit and take up his mercy petition with President Pervez Musharraf.

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