New Delhi: Shocked by the U-turn on the release of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian prisoner on a death row in Pakistan on terrorism charges, his family members on Thursday held a protest at the Jantar Mantar and met External Affairs Minister SM Krishna at South Block to seek his release.

Sarabjit's sister, Dalbir Kaur, who has led the campaign for his release in the last few years, along with other family members and supporters held a dharna (sit-in) at Jantar Mantar."

Pakistan has played a cruel joke on us and we are again requesting Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to release Sarabjit," said Dalbir Kaur.

Kaur said they cannot express in words the pain they have suffered. "The pain we have suffered I cannot express. I don't think this should have happened. After the cruel joke they have played, isn't it necessary for Pakistan to improve its image to release Sarabjit immediately," Kaur told reporters.

"I am assured that the issue of release of Sarabjit will be raised during the Indo-Pak meetings. I am feeling good that the government is showing concern and I trust them that they will support us. The Minister told me that we won't leave Sarabjit in Pakistan at any cost," she said.

Pakistan had done a flip-flop late Tuesday after announcing that Zardari had commuted Sarabjit's death sentence and that he would be released.

Later, the presidential spokesman said that instead of Sarabjit, another Indian prisoner, Surjeet Singh, who has been languishing in Pakistani jails for over three decades on spying charges, would be released.

Sarabjit's family claims that he had inadvertently crossed in Pakistan in an inebriated state August 1990 and was arrested there. He hails from Bhikhiwind village along the India-Pakistan border, 280 km from Chandigarh.

He was later identified as Manjit Singh and accused of planting two bombs in Pakistan which claimed 14 lives. He was sentenced to death by Pakistani courts even though his family here claimed that he was completely innocent.

(Agencies)

Latest News from India News desk