Pak to let diplomats visit jailed Indian

New Delhi, August 26:

Pakistani authorities have agreed to let Indian diplomats visit an Indian man convicted of spying and sentenced to death for a series of bomb blasts in Pakistan, officials from both countries said today.

Pakistan this week received a request to allow Indian diplomats to see the convicted spy, Sarabjeet Singh, and a Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mohammed Naeem Khan, said today that permission has been granted.

“We informed the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to contact relevant authorities to settle time and date for a meeting with” Singh, Khan told The Associated Press in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital.

India’s External Affairs Ministry confirmed that the country’s diplomats would be allowed to see Singh but provided no other details. Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said today the he plans to raise the issue of the hundreds of prisoners still being held by both sides when he visits Islamabad next week.

“This issue has always been on our agenda,” Saran said. “We will discuss on how to resolve this problem on humanitarian grounds.” Saran said India has already agreed to free a large number of Pakistani prisoners, who will be released after their identities are verified by the Pakistani embassy. Singh’s case, however, is being handled separately from that of other prisoners. As protesters demanded Singh’s release, Indian External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh met the Pakistani ambassador in New Delhi and made a formal request to Islamabad to spare the convicted spy’s life, whose execution date has not been set.

A report from Islamabad said the issue of prisoners languishing in Pakistani and Indian jails has been included in the ongoing composite dialogue process between Islamabad and New Delhi and will be discussed when officials of the two countries meet in Islamabad on Saturday, Pakistani Minister of State for Interior Shahzad Wasim was quoted as saying.