The family of an Indian man convicted of spying in Pakistan arrived Wednesday in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore in a last-ditch attempt to seek clemency from President Pervez Musharraf, reported the dpa.
Sarabjit Singh, who was arrested by Pakistani authorities in 1990 near the border, has been sentenced to death after being convicted of spying and carrying out four bombings in Lahore and Faisalabad that killed 14 people.
Singh's wife, Sukhpreet Kaur; daughters, Swapandeep and Poonam; sister Dalbir Kaur; and brother-in-law Baldev Singh entered Pakistan's Punjab province via the Wagah border crossing in an arrival that was aired live on many Pakistani television stations.
"I have come here with a hope that you [the Pakistani people] will pray for and facilitate my brother's release and that he will contentedly rejoin his family," Singh's sister told journalists.
Musharraf last month stayed Singh's execution until April 30 but rejected his plea for mercy. However, the Indian government made a fresh appeal Friday for clemency on humanitarian grounds.
"We have sought permission for meeting Musharraf and other government leaders to expedite the process of papa's release," said Poonam, who was 23 days old when Singh was arrested.
The family reiterated that Singh's case was one of mistaken identity, denied he was a spy or bomber and insisted he accidentally strayed into Pakistani territory.
"My father mistakenly crossed into Pakistani territory while he was drunk as there used to be no fences on the border back then," Swapandeep said.
Singh, who earlier made a confession, now denies the charges against him with his family saying that the confession was involuntary and extracted under police torture.
On March 3, Pakistan released another Indian man on death row after a similar conviction. Kashmir Singh, who spent 35 years in prison, had denied spying charges while on Pakistani soil but admitted upon reaching home that he had gone to Lahore on a spying mission.