Saturday 14 April 2012

Release of Sarabjit Singh

H.E. The President of Pakistan
Mr. Asif Zardari
Through H.E. the Pakistan High Commissioner to India
Mr. Shahid Malik

                                                                                                                        New Delhi

Your Excellency,

                        Re: Release of Sarabjit Singh
            Your Excellency’s recent visit to India and Ajmer Sharif has created a climate for good relations between our two countries.

            Your Excellency was very kind to honour the appeal made by the bench of the Indian Supreme Court (consisting of Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra and myself) for release of one Gopal Das, an Indian who had been undergoing a life sentence in Pakistan, and had spent 27 years in Pakistani jails. In our judgment we had quoted the famous Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz:

            “Qafas udaas hai yaaron saba se kuch to kaho
            Kaheen to behar-e-khuda aaj zikr-e-yaar chale”

On Your Excellency’s order Gopal Das was released and was sent back to India. I am very grateful for Your Excellency’s kind gesture.

            Now through this letter I am praying to you for similar generosity in the case of one Sarabjit Singh, an Indian national, who has been on death row in a Pakistani jail for over 20 years. I am appealing to you to order release of Sarabjit Singh and his return to India as a humanitarian gesture, exercising your power of pardon as the Pakistan President. By doing so you will add to the excellent impression among Indians created by your recent visit to Delhi and Ajmer Sharif, and improve ties between our two countries.

            You would be knowing that the Indian Supreme Court recently granted bail to Dr. Khalil Chishty, for whose release I have been campaigning for a long time. Release of Sarabjit Singh and sending him back to India will add to the friendly atmosphere which has been created.

            I will conclude by quoting Portia’s speech in Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice’
            “The quality of mercy is not strained
            It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
            Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
            It blesseth him that gives and him that takes
            If is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
            It is an attribute of God himself;
            And earthly power doth then show like God’s
            When mercy seasons justice”

                                                                                                      With kind regards,
                                                                                                     Yours sincerely,       

                                                                                    (Justice Markandey Katju      
                                                                                    Former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and
                                                                                    Presently Chairman, Press Council of India)



  1. Respected Justice Katju,

    Your appeal finally seems to have been fruitful. Sarabjit Singh has been pardoned by the Prez of Pakistan. It was a very kind gesture and your request certainly seems to have made the difference. Only if more people thought like you, there will be a stronger India and stronger Pakistan.


  2. It was a very kind gesture and your request certainly seems to have made the difference