BJP asks Centre to try for early release of Sarabjit

New Delhi: The BJP on Friday demanded that the Centre make "fresh efforts" for securing the early release of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian prisoner on death row in Pakistan.

The demand comes in the wake of a sitting Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju writing to the Prime Minister for the release of a Pakistani prisoner Dr Khaleel Chishty, languishing in Indian jails for the past 20 years.

The SC judge had sought the release of Chishty, a micro-biologist from Karachi, on humanitarian grounds under Article 72 of the Constitution.

BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said "it appears odd that an SC judge is writing to the PM for securing the release of a Pakistani prisoner, even in his individual capacity."

Prasad further said "in case the government decides to consider this request, it must also separately secure the early release of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, by making fresh efforts."

Singh, who hails from Punjab, was convicted and sentenced to death by a court in Pakistan in 1991 for his alleged involvement in terrorist attacks in the neighbouring country. He has been languishing in Pakistani jails for over 19 years now.