Convicted Indian spy given one-month reprieve on execution in Pakistan
President Musharraf's reprieve may signal warming relations between the two former British colonies.
Pakistan has given a one-month stay of execution to a convicted Indian spy. Sarabjit Singh, who was convicted of carrying out four bomb attacks in Pakistan in 1990. He was due to be hanged on April 1.Skip to next paragraph
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On Wednesday, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf gave Sarabjit Singh a stay of execution until April 30. The reprieve was the latest gesture of magnanimity made by Pakistan over the issue of Indian spies in Pakistani custody.
The moves may be a sign of improving relations between the two nations, which have fought three wars and numerous near-wars in the past 60 years. During decades of hostility, India and Pakistan have jailed hundreds of each other's men.
Although a peace process was launched in 2004, the countries remain deeply suspicious of one another. Indian High Commission spokesman Sanjay Mathur in Islamabad told the Associated Press Wednesday that the reprieve for Sarabjit Singh was "informally communicated" to the diplomatic mission.
His family denies he was a spy as claimed by Pakistan and insists he accidentally strayed into Pakistani territory. When Pakistan's Supreme Court rejected his plea for clemency in March 2006, Mr Singh apparently sent a mercy petition to President Pervez Musharraf, seeking release on the grounds that he was innocent and wrongly implicated. Indeed, from all accounts, it does seem he was just a poor farmer who strayed from his border village into Pakistan and became a victim of mistaken identity.
It appears a reprieve for Mr Singh, even at this eleventh hour, could be possible if the Indian government got involved and appealed to Pakistan.