Sarabjit Singh’s tragic end

Published: May 2, 2013
Email
Not only were Singh’s rights as a prisoner violated but the inaction of jail authorities exposes the conditions of Pakistani jails.  PHOTO: FILE

Not only were Singh’s rights as a prisoner violated but the inaction of jail authorities exposes the conditions of Pakistani jails. PHOTO: FILE

Not only were Singh’s rights as a prisoner violated but the inaction of jail authorities exposes the conditions of Pakistani jails.  PHOTO: FILE

Sarabjit Singh, an Indian spy on death row, finally succumbed to his injuries in Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital. Singh was badly injured following a brutal attack by fellow inmates in Kot Lakhpat Jail and fell into a coma as a result of those injuries. Pakistan has arrested two prisoners and charged them with Singh’s murder. It is not enough to just go after the prisoners who attacked him but the jail authorities must be dealt with an iron hand as well.

Singh’s safety and well-being was the responsibility of the Pakistani state. His family has demanded justice from Pakistan. Punjab’s caretaker Chief Minister, Najam Sethi, has also ordered a judicial inquiry into Singh’s death. It is not yet clear whether it was a pre-planned attack or not. It is a matter of grave concern that an Indian prisoner, whose lawyer had repeatedly warned of serious threats to his life, was beaten to pulp in a Pakistani prison. It is outright criminal negligence on the part of the jail authorities. The government must answer what measures, if any, were taken after his lawyer requested greater security for him in light of the threats.

Not only were Singh’s rights as a prisoner violated but the inaction of jail authorities exposes the conditions of Pakistani jails. Strict action must be taken against those police officials who were responsible for Singh’s security. Prison brawls are not uncommon in our country but we rarely hear of any action being taken against the jail authorities. The government must ensure that a transparent investigation takes place and jail authorities are taken to task.

This incident could also affect relations between India and Pakistan. In order to avoid a diplomatic row, it is hoped that the government will conduct a proper inquiry. As it is, Pakistan’s image has taken a blow for the worse internationally. Thus, it is in Pakistan’s interest to maintain peaceful relations with all its neighbours, especially India. Singh’s death is a tragedy that could have easily been prevented. The matter must be probed thoroughly so that those responsible are duly punished.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (49)

  • SM
    May 2, 2013 - 10:24PM

    To be very honest I am not very surprised by the behaviors meted out to Indians in Pakistani jails, and I was not surprised by the brutal beating given to Sarabjit Singh. In fact it was sadly expected after Afzal Guru. Anyways, good luck to the country you guys are building there we will all be here, at the edge of our seats, to see how it turns out.

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  • Prashant
    May 2, 2013 - 10:29PM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBGehdtVxwI

    dear Pakistani Brothers and Sister please kindly check this link, He is witness of the incident. now tell me where is justice in Pakistan?

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  • Imad Uddin
    May 2, 2013 - 10:51PM

    shouldnt have happened this way. We simply have no need to sow more hatred around ourselves. how would we feel if God forbid, Dr. Afia dies in US

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  • Chanakyathecynic
    May 3, 2013 - 12:14AM

    To those who say Sarabjit was a terrorist, from wikipedia –
    “On 26 April 2008, the key witness Shaukat Salim [17][18] retracted his statement during an interview with newspersons. In court Salim had provided testimony that Sarabjit was the one who had planted the bomb but later on accepted that he had done so under pressure from the Pakistani police.[10]
    Pakistani human rights activist Ansar Burney claimed that none of the four FIRs lodged with regard to the bombings contained Sarabjit’s name nor his description and that Sarabjit had been arrested on the night of 30 August 1990 from the Kasur border for illegally crossing the Indo-Pakistani border. But after eight days the police implicated him in the terrorist bombings. He had not been arrested red-handed.[10] Burney also pointed out that the same magistrate had recorded the statements of the witnesses in all the four terror blast cases, out of which one had taken place at Faisalabad and the remaining three at Lahore, although the police cases had been lodged in four different police stations and two different districts.

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  • R.Khan
    May 3, 2013 - 12:25AM

    Sad day for humanity! We should have released him long time back & created a good will between two neigboring countries. Are we not fed up with hatred which is oozing out from all of us? I feel sorry for his family members. Surely a very sad day for humanity!

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  • a_writer
    May 3, 2013 - 2:44AM

    Kasab and Guru received justice the Indian way – they went through Indian legal system, were found guilty and put to death according to Indian laws. Sarabjit Singh received justice the Pakistani way. He also was sentenced to death in a Pakistani court of law and it was carried out by a mob within the prison walls,

    I guess both countries can honestly claim that they carried out the sentence in a way that is most widely accepted by their respective societies.

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  • Jayant M
    May 3, 2013 - 2:47AM

    I do hope the Indian Govt now starts to refuse granting Visas for Pakistanis wanting to come to India for medical treatment.

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  • Adnan Khan
    May 3, 2013 - 3:45AM

    Was this written by an indian diplomat, or a Pakistani journalist ?.
    .
    Confused.

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  • F
    May 3, 2013 - 3:54AM

    Commend the editorial and R. Khan’s comments.

    But Pakistan was not expected to do the responsible or humane thing. Really, no one expected it. Sarabjit’s murder and death is sad but Pakistan’s behaviour is not surprising. Sarabjit should have been released to his family – not India, when he was declared brain dead. But nuance and PR are deemed qualities of the weak in Pakistan. It let its insecurities and visceral hatred guide its actions. Does anyone seriously think that there can be peace when basic values are so different between India and its neighbour?

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  • Abdullah Khan
    May 3, 2013 - 3:57AM

    I wonder why the editorial ignored his crimes. At least you could have tell the readers that what were charges against him. I am surprised to see that both Geo and ET avoided the term ‘terrorist’ for Sarabjeet Singh. We should condemn terrorists of all kinds.

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  • Durbullah
    May 3, 2013 - 5:17AM

    It is not a question of what his crimes were. He was serving sentence for it already and even if he was hanged legally, it would have fallen under lawful process. But he was beaten up in Prison and there are lot of pakistani’s in Indian Prison too.

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  • Naveen
    May 3, 2013 - 5:56AM

    There are still many Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails. I hope they do not meet the end of Sarabjit and Chamel Singh.Recommend

  • vasan
    May 3, 2013 - 6:16AM

    This shows how barbaric the jails can be in the subcontinent, especially in Pakistan.

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  • Tera
    May 3, 2013 - 6:47AM

    @Prashant:
    Thanks for sharing the link. It now helps me understand the situation better.

    I am speechless.

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  • Water Bottle
    May 3, 2013 - 7:08AM

    @Abdullah Khan who says “I wonder why the editorial ignored his crimes.”

    You need to read about Sarabjit Singh to understand why nobody believes that he is a terrorist. The main eye-witness Salim Shaukat who identified Sarabjit Singh in the court also retracted and said that he had never seen Sarabjit in his life. He was arrested 4 months after the blasts on charges of crossing over the border. Later he was charged under a false identity of Manjeet Singh. The whole thing reeks of utter incompetence and dishonesty.

    Sarabjit’s trial and subsequent conviction is a testament that Pakistan is run by mafia.

    Police mafia, judiciary mafia, military mafia, mullah mafia.

    This has to go down in history as one of the worst mistrials ever.

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  • Mir Agha
    May 3, 2013 - 7:10AM

    Good riddance. I believe it’s called Karma.

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  • Manjit Singh
    May 3, 2013 - 7:30AM

    How many of you know that he was a financially poor and so called lower caste christian convert of a border village in indian punjab. No wonder many of his ilk get lured into the dark world of spying.once caught, they are destined to rot and spend the prime of their lives behind bars. Respective governments almost always disown them. Those who are lucky enough to return home find it impossible to get their services to their respective nations recognized . Many such ex spies have formed an association to fight legal battles for their rights. Had sarabjit not been allegedly involved in bomb blasts and his case not been highlighted, he must have been living a dead life like many other indian and pakistanis in ‘ enemy’ jails.

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  • Arindom
    May 3, 2013 - 8:08AM

    @Abdullah Khan:

    He was framed by the establishment who wanted to prove that bombs are planted by Indians. But everybody knows who plants bombs which go off every day….at least now nobody seriously blames India – all know who is actually behind these….pakistanis will have to open their own eyes

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  • Vakil
    May 3, 2013 - 9:17AM

    @Mir Agha:
    In other words, the “Collective Conscience of Pakistan” has been satisfied and soothed… am I right, friend? If anyone has the courage, they should try and contradict this…

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  • Rakib
    May 3, 2013 - 9:44AM

    @Manjit Singh:{ “How many of you know that he was a financially poor and so called lower caste christian convert” } I didn’t know of this most vital gem of information. Amazing how essential it is for many to highlight the Caste & Religion of the murdered man lest the suffix “Singh” be misconstrued as a high class Sikh or Rajput. Jaat & Aukaat (Caste & Status) are also essential to determine the quality of tragedy to arrive at precise quantum of solace that one may deserve!

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  • Miss hassan
    May 3, 2013 - 9:53AM

    @Imad Uddin:
    what we are feeling when afia is in Us presion ??

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  • Polpot
    May 3, 2013 - 10:30AM

    “In order to avoid a diplomatic row, it is hoped that the government will conduct a proper inquiry”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    A proper inquiry as was done in the case of 26/11. isnt it?

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  • Polpot
    May 3, 2013 - 10:35AM

    @a_writer:
    “I guess both countries can honestly claim that they carried out the sentence in a way that is most widely accepted by their respective societies.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    I wonder if your subtelety will be missed by the audience!

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  • Polpot
    May 3, 2013 - 10:37AM

    “Sarabjit Singh’s tragic end”
    ++++++++++++++++++
    Equally tragic is the demise of law and justice and public morality in Pakistan.

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  • Polpot
    May 3, 2013 - 10:39AM

    Pakistan”a blot among the comity of nations
    ++++++++++++++++++++++
    No Indian should ever forget this incident or the murder of Chamel Singh.Never Ever.

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  • Polpot
    May 3, 2013 - 10:42AM

    @SM: “Anyways, good luck to the country you guys are building there we will all be here, at the edge of our seats, to see how it turns out.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Today’s drama:The murder of the 26/11 Prosecutor.
    there is no end to the blood thirst of the Pakistani nation.

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  • Polpot
    May 3, 2013 - 10:43AM

    I salute this newspaper for this brave Editorial
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    even if their words fall on deaf ears and blind eyes.

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  • Polpot
    May 3, 2013 - 11:04AM

    Is there a Government in Pakistan?
    +++++++++++++++++++++
    Was there ever a Government in Pakistan?

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  • sahi
    May 3, 2013 - 11:14AM

    @Prashant:
    dear he is not an innocent.he is like ajmal kasab. he killed 30 innocent peoples in Lahore bomb blast.So no need to so much react by Indian people and govt of India.

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  • Mekaal
    May 3, 2013 - 11:17AM

    Pakistani english print media is pro bharat. Dozens of Pakistani prisoners in india are killed every year in torture and their bodies are returned to Pakistan through Wagah and this english media remains busy in glrifying indian bollywood and now its crying oevr the death of a terrorist who killed more than a dozen innocent Pakistanis.

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  • wonderer
    May 3, 2013 - 11:26AM

    There is an important part of Sarabjit’s story which is being missed out. He is described, both officially and by the media, as an Indian ‘spy‘ who planted bombs to kill innocent civilians. A spy planting bombs?

    Spies work in utmost secrecy to collect information. They go out of their way to avoid even being noticed or suspected. They will never go about planting bombs because it would require local assistance. If he was a spy, he cannot be a bomber. And, if he was a bomber, he could not have been a spy. Simple!

    Why do we get repeatedly caught telling lies? Because we think we can do it with a straight face.

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  • S DAS
    May 3, 2013 - 1:24PM

    @Jayant M:
    Medical treatment should be given to all even to enemies.

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  • Cynical
    May 3, 2013 - 2:02PM

    On another page it has been reported that a Pakistani prisoner has been attacked by his inmates in an Indian jail. These incidents, but more significantly the vitriolic comments that appear here and there goes to show that we have not evolved much from our primordial past. Man is just another animal.

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  • Murthy
    May 3, 2013 - 2:57PM

    We blame the west for everything. But, we must learn a lot about being fair both to the criminal and an accused from them. Afzal Guru was executed after his involvement in the attack on Indian parliament was proved in a court of law. Can we say the same thing about Singh? Whatever be the crime a prisoner is in prison for, he must have the rights of a prisoner, be it in India or Pakistan. Killing a prisoner in hatred in one country and the same being done in retaliation in the other reflects the IMMATURITY of people of both countries. Hatred will beget hatred and let no one talk about normalization of relations. It’s impossible!

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  • pakiindi
    May 3, 2013 - 3:33PM

    @Murthy:

    “…. let no one talk about normalization of relations. It’s impossible!… “

    Agree with you Sir. Normalization of relations with Pakistan will be possible only. and only when Pakistan begs for it. This is a nation which considers decency as weakness.

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  • Stranger
    May 3, 2013 - 4:16PM

    Its a matter of shame for both countries when small fries get caught and jailed( and killed) . the big ones always skip away . Nets can be used to catch small fish . to catch a whale or a shark we need somethign special like harpoons. So lets make big laws/ policies/ structure to catch the real big ones .

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  • zeus
    May 3, 2013 - 6:29PM

    ET paid stooge of india!!!

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  • Babu
    May 3, 2013 - 8:27PM

    horrible life and horrible death—– even if he was a spy,
    we should reciprocate, by giving visas for senior citizens and people seeking medical treatment in India and ensuring safety and early repatriation of Pakistani prisoners.

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  • Rana Amjad
    May 3, 2013 - 9:44PM

    Zeus, Feel sorry for your mind set! Anybody who writes the truth is called an Indian stooge. What shall we call you, an establishment stooge filled with hatred & revenge.

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  • Pashtunyar
    May 3, 2013 - 10:00PM

    @Jayant M:
    Pakistanis coming to India pay for their treatment. Its not charity!

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  • Prerna
    May 3, 2013 - 11:51PM

    @Manjit Singh: How many of you know that he was a financially poor and so called lower caste christian convert of a border village in indian punjab

    That is a complete fabrication.Sarabjit Singh was a Sikh .When another Indian detainee released from Pakistan jail had said that Sarabjit Singh has converted to Islam,his sister Dalbir Kaur had clarified “Sarabjit was a Gursikh, is a Gursikh and will remain a Gursikh. He has kept photos of Sikh gurus in jail and a Sikh religious book. He regularly recites from that book.”

    The final rites of Sarabjit Singh were performed according to Sikh ,not Christian, tradition.

    @Rakib; Please do not blindly believe just because the person writing something about someone has the same last name as that someone.

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  • MuppetIndians
    May 4, 2013 - 1:33AM

    Indian trollers alert – he was a spy and on death penalty. Are indian jails bed of roses. Its amazing how indians forget their country justice and cant leave behind their born obssession with pakistan

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  • Kulwant Singh
    May 4, 2013 - 5:40AM

    @Rakib: Agreed

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  • Rakib
    May 4, 2013 - 8:28AM

    @Prerna: The mild sarcasm in my post might have been missed. My fault;I was not clear. It appears Kulwant Singhji got it. I was wondering at the need to speculate at all on the victim’s creed, caste, conversion etc while focus of Editorial is on the crime. This subcontinent will remain an area of darkness if such thinking persists. However,it’s also true that considering multiple identities one wears, after every shocking event one tends to find out the religion, & then sect/caste if possible, of the perpetrator or the victim to determine response. First thought may well be: thank god he matches none of my identities & if he does can I salvage something somehow! There can be combination of relief, pain or pleasure in either distancing or bracketing one self with that person. That’s the web we weave on worldwide web. Exceptions are exceptional.

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  • Observer
    May 4, 2013 - 11:13AM

    An innocent man was convicted, jailed and killed. Evidence shows that he was innocent and was framed. To learn the truth read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarabjit_Singh

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  • wonderer
    May 4, 2013 - 11:31AM

    @Rakib:

    “… This subcontinent will remain an area of darkness if such thinking persists. ,,, “

    I am in agreement with the gist of what you say, and admire the civility. As a patriotic Paki I would replace the word “subcontinent” with :Pakistan” in the above statement. We have carried this false notion that if Pakistan is not carried along by the rest by agreeing to our demands, we will be able to stall the development of others in South Asia. We think LeT will put a brake on India’s advancement. We can actually only hinder but not stop. If we do not change our ideas, there are indications that a time will come when we will be left behind in the race.

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  • Observer
    May 4, 2013 - 11:38AM

    @Jayant M:

    “I do hope the Indian Govt now starts to refuse granting Visas for Pakistanis wanting to come to India for medical treatment.”

    I am as distraught as you on the injustice meted out to an innocent man. However, we as human beings have to put humanism above anything else. If a poor Pakistani wants to save the life of his son, daughter, husband or wife, who are suffering from horrible diseases, he is not thinking about the geopolitical enmity between India and Pakistan and India must gladly save these innocent lives.

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  • Prerna
    May 4, 2013 - 4:40PM

    @Rakib: My apologies.I shouldn’t have jumped to reply,and should have read your comment in full. Indeed,that was my first reaction – why bring up the issue of the religion,caste or any other description of any person. ET moderates even the most innocuous of comments,yet it deems fit to post that of @Manjit Singh.Recommend

  • James
    May 5, 2013 - 12:40PM

    @wonderer:
    I would also add that he was arrested in an inebriated condition.Which spy or bomber gets drunk on the job

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