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Tragedy of error caused by misinformation regarding Sarabjit Singh
Call it tragedy or error as Sarabjit's family was overwhelmed with joy after hearing the news that he was being released from a Pakistan jail. Even Indian foreign ministry thanked the Pak president but it was later clarified by the Pakistani authorities, much to the chagrin of Sarabjit's family that Surjeet Singh and not Sarabjit was being released.

PAKISTAN IS yet to throw a lifeline to Sarabjit Singh, the alleged Indian spy who was on a death row on charges of terrorism, by commuting his sentence. Surjeet Singh who has been jailed for three decades and received a pardon in 1989 has actually been released.

Sarabjit, 49, who has been in Kot Lakhpat Jail for the past 22 years will not be released and in his place Surjeet is being released. In the statement issued past midnight, the law minister told the interior ministry that Surjeet Singh had completed his life term and ought to be released and sent back to India.

It is not a case of pardon. The 22-year ordeal continues for Sarabjit. The arrest of Jundal has made it more uncertain that Sarabjit will at all be released. Sarabjit was arrested, charged with involvement in serial blasts in Lahore and Multan in 1990 that left 14 people dead. Sarabjit Singh's family claims he had crossed into Pakistan inadvertently in August 1990 in an inebriated state and was arrested there.

But Pakistani police say that Sarabjit Singh, who is known as Manjit Singh there, was involved in acts of terrorism. A resident of Bhikhiwind township along the border, Sarabjit has been languishing in Pakistani jails since then. In 1991 he was given death sentence by an anti-terror court. In 2006, Pak Supreme Court rejected Sarabjit’s mercy petition. It upheld the death sentence.

Ex-president Pervez Musharraf rejected Sarabjit's mercy petition and in May 2012, Sarabjit filed fresh mercy plea, which was accepted by President Zardari. Last midnight, news report reached India that Sarabjit Singh’s death sentence has been commuted. But later Pak authority clarified that prisoner to be released is Surjeet Singh, who was pardoned in 1989, not Sarabjit. In the meantime S.M. Krishna too thanked Zardari for having pardoned Sarabjit. This is nothing but a tragedy of error.

The issue may crop up again in the meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan which has been delayed since the dates clashed with the Presidential poll here but Foreign Secretaries of the two countries will hold talks on July 4-5. According to official sources, Pakistan wanted to hold the meeting on July 19 which was not convenient to the Indian side in view of the Presidential poll on that date.

The new dates are being worked out at the convenience of both sides and the meeting is likely to happen in August. But after the arrest of Jundal, the clemency appeal for Sarabjit is in deep waters. There may be no mercy for Sarabjit. The family of Sarabjit is in deep gloom now with the last flicker of hope dying down.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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