In a series of letters to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi,his sister Dalbir Kaur and daughter Poonam in August last year,Sarabjit Singh had expressed fears that he may be killed at Kot Lakhpat Rai Jail in Lahore. In his letters,he had alleged that some officials in Pakistan were torturing him mentally with the intention of making him mentally ill or killing him.
Fridays attack on Sarabjit has brought the focus back on jail officials,who are now being accused of failing to ensure the convicts security.
On June 26,2012 it was reported by the Pakistani media that President Asif Ali Zardari had commuted Sarabjits death sentence and that he was being released. The Pakistani government,however,later retracted the pardon by the saying that there was a confusion and another prisoner,Surjeet Singh who was pardoned in 1989 was being released.
In the letters sent after the said faux pas by Pakistan written to Dalbir in Hindi and brought to India by his lawyer Awaiz Sheikh,Sarabjit had explained the inhuman treatment and mockery he was being subjected to in jail.
I am being given something in my food and this is going on for the last two to three months. My body is getting wasted. There is pain in my left arm and the left leg is getting weaker and I cannot move, Sarabjit wrote. When I feel pain,those on duty poke fun at me instead of giving me any medicine, he added
Claiming that the food served to prisoners in the jail was poor,Sarabjit wrote: The food is not worth eating. Even if one eats,it cannot be digested. He added that he prefers to eat the food he cooks on given days and rest of the time,the food he eats was same as poison.
Please bring this in the notice of Indian government that jail officials are not behaving in a proper manner with me. They threaten me by saying your bones should not reach India. Ever since the new superintendent,Mohsin Rafiq,has joined work,our condition has deteriorated, a letter stated.
Mistaken identity or a terrorist?
Based on alleged eyewitnesses account,confessional statement and evidence available,an anti-terrorist court in Pakistan had awarded death penalty to Sarabjit Singh in 1991 for serial blasts in Lahore,Multan and Faislabad that killed 14 people in 1990. The verdict was challenged in the high court,which upheld the death penalty. Following this,Sarabjit filed a mercy petition before the Pakistan Supreme Court,which was rejected in 2006. He was ordered to be executed on April 1,2008 after then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf rejected his mercy petition. Musharraf,however,stayed hanging for a month. Next Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari stayed the execution for three months and later,it was stayed indefinitely.