‘Naive to believe attack on Sarabjit without connivance of jail authorities’

Lahore, May 3 (IANS) In strong criticism of the April 26 brutal attack on Sarabjit Singh in Kot Lakhpat jail here, Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission said Thursday that “not even the most naive person can believe” that the assault on Sarabjit by prisoners can be executed “without the knowledge and support of prison guards and the authorities”.

In a statement, hours after the death of Sarabjit in Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said the Indian death row prisoner faced “more threats than other prisoners on account of the charge that he was convicted of and yet his security was so completely compromised”.

The commission said it is concerned that Sarabjit’s death “might undermine the hard work done by both countries to normalize relations”.

Stressing that both sides will “have to go out of their way to undo the damage that the murder and the manner that it took place in has done”, it said that the need of the hour was to “expeditiously conclude a judicial inquiry to bring all those who are involved to justice”.

“If the two countries begin to treat each other’s prisoners with some compassion even now instead of exposing them to the worst of treatment reserved for prisoners in their jails, then some good would still have come from Sarabjit’s brutal murder.”

It said the murderous attack on Sarabjit “is far more serious a crime than allowing someone like General Pervez Musharraf to escape from court”.

It said Sarabjit died when members of the joint Pak-India Judges Committee were visiting Pakistan in order to assess the conditions of detention of Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails.

Hitting out against sabre-rattling by some over the incident, the panel said: “Those in Pakistan who take pride in their vengefulness must feel some shame today, if they are capable of that. Those elements in India who are no less vengeful, intolerant and fond of jingoism than their Pakistani counterparts would no doubt write their own script now.”

It said it was concerned that Sarabjit’s death “might undermine the hard work done by both countries to normalize relations. They will have to go out of their way to undo the damage that the murder and the manner that it took place in has done”.

The statement was signed by Zohra Yusuf, chairperson HRCP.

Sarabjit Singh was brutally attacked by fellow prisoners in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail April 26 after which he slipped into a comatose condition.

He had been on death row after being convicted by Pakistani courts for bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan that left 14 people dead. He succumbed to his injuries Thursday.

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