Team of Indian judges was set to meet Sarabjit in Pak

FPCongress supporters protest against the attack on Sarabjit Singh inside a Lahore prison, in Mumbai on Saturday. Ganesh Shirsekar

The brutal attack on Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, awarded death sentence for alleged involvement in terror attacks in Multan over two decades ago, couldn't have come at a worse time. Only two days ago, four retired Indian judges, who are members of the eight-member India-Pak Joint Judicial Committee (JJC), comprising retired Supreme Court and High Court judges of both countries, went to Pakistan. Among the prisoners that the JJC was planning to interact with was Singh.

The Pakistan Supreme Court had sentenced Singh to death for his alleged involvement in four bombings that killed 14 people in 1990. However, with doubts persisting over his involvement, there is a demand, including by many Pakistani human rights activists, to pardon Singh.

The JJC members had met Singh on their last visit to Pakistan and had been apprised about the threat to his life from other inmates acting at the behest of prison authorities. They had also asked the Pakistan government to expedite the decision on his mercy petition. Sources told The Sunday Express that the JJC members will prepare a report about the attack on Singh and seek a report from the Pakistan government on the issue. The attack notwithstanding, they will continue with their scheduled visits to different jails to take stock of condition of other Indian inmates.

The decision to send the Indian jurists to Pakistan was taken after the mysterious death of Chamel Singh in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail, the same jail where Sarabjit Singh is also lodged.

Former Delhi HC Judge M A Khan, former Punjab and Haryana HC Judges Amarbir Singh Gill and Amarjeet Chaudhary and former Patna HC Judge Nagendra Rai are the Indian jurists in the JJC.

Among other things, the JJC, constituted in January 2007, is mandated to recommend steps for humane treatment and expeditious release of prisoners languishing in jails of the two countries.

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