Pakistani police today slapped murder charges against two death row prisoners who were booked for the brutal assault on fellow-inmate Sarabjit Singh,causing injuries which led to his death.
The Lahore Police added murder charges to the FIR registered against death row prisoners Amer Aftab alias AmerTambewala and Mudassar who were booked for the attack on 49-year-old Sarabjit on Friday last week.
Officials at Kot Lakhpat police station confirmed that they had added Section 302 (murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code against Aftab and Mudassar after the death of Sarabjit. Police investigators are yet to complete their probe into the attack.
They recorded the statements of both accused but are yet to submit a ‘challan’ or chargesheet against them in court. They have also failed to trace the weapons used in the assault. Sarabjit died of cardiac arrest in a Lahore hospital in the wee hours today after being comatose for nearly a week following the assault by fellow inmates.
“The investigators will visit Kot Lakhpat Jail again today to interrogate the accused in the wake of this new development,” a senior police official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. The official said the accused had earlier told investigators that they wanted to kill Sarabjit as he was allegedly involved in killing innocent Pakistanis in bomb attacks.
The accused had given the same statement to another inquiry team headed by DIG (Prisons) Malik Mubashir. Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal,who is in Lahore,is expected to meet Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Najam Sethi this afternoon.
Sarabjit was convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990 and spent about 22 years in Pakistani prisons. His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf.
The previous Pakistan People’s Party-led government put off Sarabjit’s execution for an indefinite period in 2008. Sarabjit’s family says he was the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state.