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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 March 2008, 18:27 GMT
'Lost' Indian prisoner comes home
Released Indian prisoner Kashmir Singh crosses the Pakistan-India international border at the Wagah border post
Mr Singh received a rapturous welcome at the border
An Indian man released from a Pakistani prison after spending 35 years on death row has had a tearful reunion with his family in India.

Kashmir Singh, sentenced to death for spying in 1973, was released on Monday.

His release was spearheaded by Ansar Burney, a social worker and cabinet minister who tracks people lost in Pakistan's jail system.

India and Pakistan have jailed hundreds of each other's soldiers and civilians during times of hostility.

Mr Singh's wife and son were among hundreds of people who had gathered to greet him at the Wagah border in the northern Indian state of Punjab.

Mr Singh was re-united with his family after basic medical tests and checks at the border.

Kashmir Singh waves on the Indian border with Pakistan

"I have got a new life," he said, before stepping across the border.

Pakistani officials said that while Mr Singh's release was unconditional, they hoped it would lead to further prisoner exchanges.

"There was no bargain. This is a bargain of love. In love there are no conditions," said Pakistan Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burney, who played a key role in securing Mr Singh's release and escorted him across the border.

"Never have we seen before an Indian prisoner being escorted in a flag car of a minister. This has shown the world that Pakistan is a humane nation."

Mr Singh's wife, Paramjeet Kaur, said that she was "very, very happy" to have her husband back and would be accompanying him to a Sikh temple to offer prayers of thanks.

Spies

Ansar Burney discovered Mr Singh on a recent trip to a jail in Lahore and persuaded Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to revoke his death sentence and order his release.

Mr Singh was a former policeman who had become a trader in electronic goods.

He was arrested in the city of Rawalpindi in 1973 and convicted of spying.

Pakistani caretaker Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burney
We have sent a good message to India and hope they will reciprocate and free Pakistani prisoners
Pakistani caretaker Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burney

Pakistan and India frequently arrest each other's citizens, often accusing them of straying across the border - some are treated as spies.

Mr Burney is currently the government's caretaker minister for human rights.

Mr Burney said last week that Mr Singh had been held in a condemned prisoner's cell for most of the time since his conviction and had become mentally ill.

He said that he was first informed about the case several years ago by members of the Indian community in London.

But he was unable to locate Mr Singh, despite visiting more than 20 jails across the country in connection with his campaign for prison reforms and prisoners' rights.

The minister said Mr Singh had not received a single visitor or seen the open sky and, like other condemned prisoners, was locked in an overcrowded cell for more than 23 hours a day, in conditions which the minister described as "hell on Earth".



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Kashmir Singh crosses the Indian-Pakistan border



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