Shadow on Sarabjit mercy plea

New Delhi, Feb. 9: The hanging of Afzal Guru this morning is set to have repercussions across the border on an Indian prisoner sentenced to death by the Pakistan Supreme Court.

Sarabjit Singh, arrested by authorities for plotting serial blasts in Lahore and Faisalabad, has sought to be pardoned by the Pakistani President just as Afzal had moved a mercy petition with Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Like Afzal in India, Sarabjit's case has also gone through a legal process that New Delhi may or may not accept but is credible in Pakistan.

In December, about a month after the hanging of 26/11 killer Ajmal Kasab, protesters had burnt the Indian flag in Lahore and demanded the hanging of Sarabjit.

With Afzal's hanging, the clamour for putting Sarabjit to death in Pakistan is bound to get louder. The hangings of Kasab and Afzal were executed in the space of barely three months.

Observers in India say this may be too much for the public in Pakistan to stomach and may propel Islamabad to adopt a hard line in assessing Sarabjit's clemency plea.