Consider ‘seriously’ our appeal to release Sarabjit: Khurshid to Pak

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Mondau asked Pakistan to take “seriously” India’s appeal for the release of Indian death row convict Sarabjit Singh,comatose in a Lahore hospital after a brutal assault.

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: April 15, 2014 5:44:39 pm

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Mondau asked Pakistan to take “seriously” India’s appeal for the release of Indian death row convict Sarabjit Singh,comatose in a Lahore hospital after a brutal assault.

“We have been concerned of getting him (Sarabjit) back to India. We have been repeatedly pushing the matter. We have pulled out everything we know in diplomacy to reach out for this matter,” Khurshid said here.

Khurshid is in Russia to co-chair the inter-session meeting of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade,Economic,Scientific,Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC) with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Sharing the anguish of Singh’s family,Khurshid urged Pakistan to take “seriously” India’s appeal for the prisoner’s release.

Sarabjit,49,sustained several injuries,including a skull fracture,when six prisoners attacked him in Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday and doctors said his chances of survival were slim.

On opposition criticism of the government’s handling of Sarabjit’s case,Khurshid said,“this is too important a matter for us as a nation. For me it is like entertaining frivolous criticism. As a nation we need to speak in one voice and if there are any concrete suggestions to what we can do,we would be very happy to entertain it.”

Meanwhile,Ministry of External Affairs in a statement,notedm that “it is the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan to ensure the safety and security of all Indian prisoners in their custody.”

India also offered to provide full medical assistance to Sarabjit .

“It is our endeavour and we will do whatever in our hands to make sure that all proper medical treatment is given to Sarabjit Singh —- whether it is Pakistani doctors or medical experts from foreign countries. We are also ready to provide full medical assistance,if there is a need for any assistance from our side,” Minister of State for Home R P N Singh said.

Talking to reporters outside Parliament House,he said Sarabjit was in “a very serious condition” and his family members’ demand that he should be brought back to the country is an issue which the Government can take up with Pakistani authorities through diplomatic channel.

“It is something we can talk to them diplomatically,” he said when asked about the demand.

“…First priority is that he should recover. Whatever medical treatment he needs,it should be provided to him,” Singh said.

On humanitarian grounds,send him home: Kairon

Chandigarh: Punjab minister Adaish Partap Singh Kairon Monday requested Pakistan to hand over Sarabjit Singh to India on humanitarian grounds as he “was battling for life.” He said such a step would help in strengthening bilateral ties.

Centre didn’t act on reports: BJP

Seeking to find fault with UPA government’s foreign policy,BJP Monday said it had not acted on reports that Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh may be attacked in the Lahore jail,which could have prevented last week’s incident.

“We condemn this government’s stand on the Sarabjit issue. His family members had informed External Affairs Minister Salman Kurshid,his deputy Preneet Kaur and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde that he could be attacked in jail. But still,the Indian government did not wake up and take notice,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

He insisted the government should have taken up the issue with Pakistani officials to take preventive measures which would have saved him from the attack. The party also asked the Centre to ensure best medical treatment Sarabjit.

“Sarabjit was attacked in a most barbaric fashion inside the jail and government of India ought to have taken steps to emphasise upon Pakistan authorities to give him adequate security after the hanging of Azmal Kasab and Afzal Guru,” BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters outside Parliament.

“The immediate concern for all of us is that he must be given best treatment possible,” he said.

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