LAHORE, March 3: An Indian national, who had been languishing in prison for more than three decades, was released on Monday.

Kashmir Singh was released from the Kot Lakhpat Central Jail on the orders of President Pervez Musharraf who granted him amnesty on an appeal of federal caretaker Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burni. According to the petition filed for his release by Mr Burni, he was arrested in 1973 on spying charges. He belongs to Hoshyarpur in Indian Punjab and has three children.

Mr Singh will be handed over to the Indian authorities on Tuesday at the Wagah border.

Mr Burni, his wife and son took him from the jail to their residence, Kot Lakhpat Jail Superintendent Javed Latif told Dawn.

Mr Singh had been sentenced to death by a military court, but the sentence could not be carried out.

There are reports that Mr Singh embraced Islam while in jail and was renamed as Ibrahim.

Kashmir Singh’s wife Premjeet Kaur, children and relatives were at Wagah on Monday, hoping to receive him there.

Punjab Home Secretary Khusro Pervez Khan told Dawn in the afternoon that Mr Singh’s release papers were being prepared.

Inspector-General of Prisons Punjab Sarfraz Ahmad Mufti said officials of the Indian High Commission also visited the jail on Monday.

A large number of media personnel waited outside the jail and jail officials kept telling them that they had not received the release orders.

On the other hand, Mr Burni told newsmen on phone that he was reaching the jail to get Mr Singh freed. Mr Singh was released after 8pm.

On Monday, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Zahid Husain had disposed of a petition seeking release of Mr Singh after he was informed that the president had already ordered his release.

Mr Singh thanked President Musharraf and Mr Burni for his release and called for regular prisoner exchanges between India and Pakistan.

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