Even as Pakistan on Monday gave an assurance to India to consider positively the request for the release of Sarabjit Singh,a condemned Indian prisoner currently lodged in a Lahore jail,an eminent Pakistani journalist and former parliamentarian has supported the demand for his release.
In a letter to Press Council of India (PCI) chairperson Justice Markandey Katju,Syed Faseih Iqbal,former Senator and member of Pakistans Press Council,has said he supports the request made by Katju for the early release of Singh from jail.
Katju has been regularly making requests to the Pakistan government,the most recent one made in a letter to the Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari,requesting him to release Singh,who is languishing in jail for the last over two decades after being accused of having triggered a bomb blast in Lahore in 1990.
When contacted,Katju said while the Pakistan authorities have not so far written back to him on the issue,he has received a letter from Iqbal,seconding his request.
I am pleased to observe that all peace loving people in Pakistan have appreciated your appeal and expressed their support for it…. We share a common opinion that pardon to Sarabjit Singh,if granted,may prove to be a turning point culminating in a full-fledged peace process between our two countries, Iqbals letter to Katju reads.
Iqbal also acknowledges the role that Katju and others played in the release of 82-year-old Pakistani microbiologist Mohammed Khalil Chisti,who was lodged in an Ajmer jail till recently. Earlier this month,Chisti was given bail by the Supreme Court and allowed to visit Pakistan.
We in Pakistan acknowledge the positive role you and your colleagues played in paving way for the release of Dr Khalil Chisti,who is now back with his family thanks to a wave of positive confidence building measures,including your sincere efforts in this regard, Iqbals letter says.
In his letter,Iqbal,who is convener of the Pakistan Association of Former Parliamentarians,also says that the issue of cross-border prisoners must not be used for political purpose but should be considered purely on humanitarian grounds.