Mistaken Identity In Pakistan: Surjeet, Not Sarabjit Singh, To Be Released From Prison

  @JaceyFortin on June 26 2012 6:01 PM

In Pakistan, a case of mistaken identity has led to an embarrassing U-turn for administration officials.

Reports had circulated regarding the planned pardon and release of an Indian national named Sarabjit Singh from prison. The inmate had been convicted for his alleged involvement in a series of bombings that killed 14 people in Punjab in 1990.

On hearing the news of his release, the convict's family members in India rejoiced. They had been advocating his pardon for years, claiming that he had nothing to do with the bombings and was wrongly arrested after he crossed the border into Pakistan.

But as it turned out, those reports were incorrect -- a man with a similar name is being released instead.

I think there is some confusion, said Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. First, it is not a case of pardon. More importantly, it is not Sarabjit. It is Surjeet Singh, son of Sucha Singh. His death sentence was commuted in 1989 by President [Ghulam] Ishaq [Khan] on the advice of [then premier] Benazir Bhutto.

Surjeet Singh was convicted on charges of spying for India; he has been in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore for more than 30 years. Sarabjit Singh has been in the same jail for over 20 years, according to DNA India.

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