Kashmiri Rebels Urge For Swap Of Death Row Convicts
29 August 2005
Srinagar: An alliance of Kashmir militants urged Pakistan on Monday to demand clemency for a Kashmiri sentenced to death for an attack on India's parliament in exchange for pardoning an Indian on death row in Pakistan. Pakistan's Supreme Court recently upheld the death sentence on Manjit Singh for spying for India's intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, and being involved in five bombings in Pakistan. 'Pakistan should seek clemency for innocent Mohammad Afzal from India before pardoning Sarabjit Singh, ' United Jihad Council (UJC) said in a statement. The statement of the Pakistan- based UJC, the main alliance of militant groups fighting New Delhi's rule in Kashmir, was released through a local news agency after a meeting of militant groups on Sunday chaired by UJC chairman Syed Salahudin. Singh's family said Pakistan had got the wrong man, insisting the condemned man was actually Sarabjit Singh, a farmer who lived in a border village in the northern Indian state of Punjab who strayed into Pakistan in 1990 while drunk. Earlier this month, India's Supreme Court upheld a lower court's death sentence on Mohammed Afzal, a Kashmiri who was found guilty of involvement in the December 2001 raid by five gunmen on the parliament building in New Delhi. Families of Singh and Afzal insist both are innocent. Kashmir has been at the heart of half a century of tension between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan. More than 45,000 people have been killed since a revolt, which New Delhi says is backed by Pakistan, broke out in 1989 in the region.