For Pakistan, Sarabjit was always Manjit

Bhikhiwind (Punjab), May 3 (IANS) Sarabjit Singh in India, Manjit Singh in Pakistan. For the man, who was given a state funeral here Thursday after having been brutally attacked in a Lahore jail where he was on death row, it was really all about a name.

For his family, he was Sarabjit Singh, the 26-year-old who had mistakenly crossed the border into Pakistan in an inebriated state in 1990. For Pakistan, he was Manjit Singh, a condemned terrorist guilty of blasts in Lahore and Multan that killed 14 people.

For nearly 23 years, Sarabjit Singh tried to wash off the name-tag and actions of someone else. He was only partially successful.

When he was laid to rest in his hometown here Friday, Sarabjit made his final journey under his given name – treated as a martyr in his own country.

But the duality persisted.

Even when he was declared dead Thursday morning, authorities and media in Pakistan said that “terrorist Manjit Singh” had died.

Through his letters and lawyers, Sarabjit, as he was always known in India, tried to tell everyone in Pakistan that he was not Manjit Singh and not involved in any terror activities.

But hardly anyone listened to him in Pakistan and he was awarded the death penalty.

His family maintained all along that Sarabjit’s case was that of mistaken identity.

On Friday, when Sarabjit was cremated with full state honours, thousands of people gathered here to pay their last respects. He was described by all as a amartyr.

In death, he found his name and peace.

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