Sarabjit's Family Returns To India


MaaPeya Da LaaDLa
Death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh's family on Tuesday said the Pakistan government's reported decision to defer his hanging by three weeks indicated its ''positive attitude'' towards him.
Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur, who returned to India with Sarabjit's wife Sukhpreet Kaur and his daughters Swapandeep and Poonam after meeting him, said she hoped that this time his death sentence would be commuted into life sentence. On reaching the Indian territory, Dalbir Kaur said that she would like to once again visit Pakistan if she was granted visa.
Kaur, who met Sarabjit along with other family members at Kotlakhpat jail in Lahore, said she spent 48 minutes with him after a gap of 18 years. ''I could not even hug my brother and he could not hug his daughters, since he was kept separated by bars. It was very tough time for him when he met his family members and he was struggling hard to hold back his tears,'' she said.
''During the meeting, Sarabjit himself prepared tea for his family in the jail and we took it with sweets. Later, he also offered us cold drinks,'' Kaur recalled. She said that she told the Pakistani media that Sarabjit had crossed over to Pakistan inadvertently in 1990. ''Sarabjit is innocent and could never commit a heinous act,'' she said.
Sarabjit has been sentenced to death for his alleged involvement in bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan in 1990. His execution, scheduled for April 1, was deferred by 30 days by the Pakistani Government, which has now again postponed the hanging by three weeks. Sarabjit's younger daughter Poonam, who met him for the first time, said her family had carried food to the jail for her father but could not share it with him.
She said, ''everybody was crying after seeing him. My mother asked him to take my name. He took my name and kissed me on my forehead. He even tried to hug me from the other side of the bars.''