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Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 30, July 11, 2009

On Death Row

Saturday 11 July 2009, by Mehtab Ali Shah

Mehtab Ali Shah, who teaches in Sindh University, Karachi, has sent us the following piece that appeared recently as a Letter to the Editor in Dawn, the well-known Pakistani daily. We are reproducing it for the benefit of our readers who should know that the strength of the friends of India among democrats in our neighbouring country is not inconsequential.

This refers to your editorial on June 26 in which you have rightly and passionately pleaded to the President to grant clemency to Sarabjit Singh, who has spent more than 20 years in jail on the alleged terrorism charges and his appeal has been rejected by the SC.

You have also correctly reminded the Prime Minister to fulfil his promise to pass a piece of legislation by which the death sentence will be abolished and the lives of 7000 prisoners waiting in the death row will be spared. If the lives of these unfortunate prisoners are spared, it will generate a great deal of goodwill at home and abroad. On the other side of the border, where the feelings against Pakistan are still high after the 26/11 Mumbai bomb blasts, will considerably cool down.

Such a gesture will win the hearts and minds of many Indians in general, and the next door, Sikhs in particular. Above all, Pakistan will be considered one of the members of the comity of civilised nations who have abolished the barbaric practice of the executing the hapless convicted prisoners.

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