| Lawyer Awais Sheikh (right) releases the book in Patna on Sunday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
Rani Mukherjee had played a lawyer defending Shah Rukh Khan, an Indian lodged unfairly in a Pakistan jail, in the 2004-blockbuster Veer-Zaara. Her real-life counterpart and defence counsel of Sarabjit Singh, Awais Sheikh, released a biography of his client in Patna on Sunday.
Emotions should matter over numbers when it comes to releasing prisoners, said Sheikh, while releasing the book, Sarabjit: A Case of Mistaken Identity, written by him
Accused of a series of bomb blasts in Pakistan, Singh, an Indian citizen, is lodged at Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore, in the neighbouring country since August 30, 1990. Sheikh said he hoped the release of Singh would improve ties between the two countries. Tensions between India and its troubled neighbour have reached a nadir in current times with the brutalisation of two Indian soldiers near the Line of Control in Kashmir earlier this month.
“I am not trying to prove anyone right or wrong. But releasing Sarabjit Singh will improve the relations between India and Pakistan,” he said.
The case has been suspended since 2008, but Sheikh refuses to give up hope. “According to Article 45 of the Pakistan Constitution, the President has the power to grant pardon, reprieve or respite over any sentence passed in any court,” he said.
His book claims that the real accused in the case should be one Manjit Singh.
Singh’s daughter Poonam Kaur was also present at the book release. A Class XII student, Poonam said she wanted to plead with the Indian government to ensure the release of her father.