Sarabjit’s death: Pakistani dailies demand thorough probe

Islamabad, May 3 (IANS) Pakistani dailies Friday demanded a thorough investigation into the death of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh who was savagely attacked by fellow prisoners, with one pointedly saying this happened because of Pakistani authorities’ “abject failure”.

An editorial in the News International looked beyond issues of diplomacy and politics and said the fact is that “a man has met a brutal end and the affair should never have ended so horribly”.

While the Daily Times saw Sarabjit’s death as “another unfortunate blow to the already wafer-thin interaction between the two conflicted neighbours…”

“The long-drawn-out story of Sarabjit Singh has ended in tragedy,” said the News International Friday, a day after Sarabjit died in Lahore’s Jinnah hospital where he was admitted after being attacked in Kot Lakhpat jail April 26.

His family had sought his immediate repatriation. The Pakistan Foreign Office had stated that this had been agreed to in a meeting.

“But the deal came too late…”

The daily said there are questions that need to be answered.

“The attack needs to be investigated and all those responsible for it must be identified…It is also important that we investigate why he was not granted better security – especially since this is not the first case of an Indian inmate being badly manhandled in jail. And there is the humanitarian aspect to consider.”

“But looking beyond issues of diplomacy and politics, the fact is that a man has met a brutal end and the affair should never have ended so horribly. This has happened because of Pakistani authorities’ abject failure to keep Sarabjit safe even after his lawyers had complained of threats to his life. The matter needs to be followed up for the sake of justice, even if Sarabjit himself will never benefit from it,” said the daily.

The Daily Times in its editorial said that Sarabjit’s death “could be termed another unfortunate blow to the already wafer-thin interaction between the two conflicted neighbours now requires appropriate responses from the two governments to ensure that no knee jerk reactions upend the fragile normalisation process”.

“A definitive statement after a thorough investigation by the Pakistani authorities is imperative, which would be a testimonial of the state to its rejection of any act that goes against its constitutional, legal, ethical, social and diplomatic code of conduct,” it added.

It observed that the entire incident is “layered in very suspicious circumstances, and it is the duty of the government to make the report public”.

“Considering the pragmatism and level-headedness of (Indian Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh’s conduct vis-a-vis Pakistan, it is to be hoped, beyond the immediate expected emotional response of outrage and grief, that no step would be taken in haste to endanger the normalisation process between the two countries, a setback threatening to once again darken the geopolitical scenario of a region already embroiled in too many unnecessary and vicious tugs towards renewed conflict.”

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