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After Sarabjit

A register of reports and views from the Pakistan press

Written by Ruchika Talwar |
May 4, 2013 1:59:03 am

A register of reports and views from the Pakistan press

AFTER SARABJIT

THE tragic end to the Sarabjit Singh saga was the most talked about issue in Pakistani papers,despite the elections next week. Editorials sympathised with him and his family and raised serious questions about the jail authorities in Lahore. An editorial in The Express Tribune on May 2 suggested fair and deterrent punitive action for the inmates who assaulted him,while touching upon the ramifications on India-Pakistan relations: “It is not enough to just go after the prisoners who attacked him but the jail authorities must be dealt with an iron hand as well. Singh’s safety and well-being was the responsibility of the Pakistani state… It is outright criminal negligence… The government must answer what measures,if any,were taken after his lawyer requested greater security for him in light of the threats… In order to avoid a diplomatic row,it is hoped that the government will conduct a proper inquiry. As it is,Pakistan’s image has taken a blow for the worse internationally.” The Daily Times too said on April 29: “The attack on Sarabjit could have serious implications for Pakistan-India relations. Forces that oppose better bilateral relations have been disrupting the peace process through one means or another.” The News,in its May 3 editorial,struck a compassionate as well as interrogative note: “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…”

This week,Pakistan saw another ghastly attack that appears connected to the theory that Sarabjit’s “murder plot” was hatched by the violent opponents of peace. The Special Public Prosecutor of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency,Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali,appearing for the Benazir Bhutto assassination and the 2008 Mumbai attack cases,was shot dead on May 3 in Islamabad.

BEGINNING OF THE END

IT SEEMS the “Commando” may be close to the end of his public life. This week,a court unleashed a string of verdicts against former Pakistan army chief and president Pervez Musharraf. Dawn reported on April 30: “The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday banned… Musharraf from politics for life… A four-member larger bench… ruled that since Musharraf had abrogated the Constitution twice,he could not be allowed to contest elections for either the National Assembly or the Senate… Musharraf had imposed an illegal emergency and targeted the judiciary,therefore the court was imposing a life-time ban on the retired general… Also today,an anti-terrorist court in Rawalpindi ordered a two-week-long judicial remand for the retired general in the Benazir Bhutto murder case and also granted permission to Balochistan police to question him in the Akbar Bugti killing case.” An report in The Nation on May 2 stated that Musharraf expressed his desire for a “graceful second exile” from Pakistan,in a secret meeting with a US delegation.

NEW BENCHMARK

“FOR the first time in the judicial history of Pakistan,two female judges of the Peshawar High Court formed a bench… on Thursday. Receiving a warm welcome by lawyers and litigants… the division bench,comprising Justice Irshad Qaisar and Justice Musarrat Hilali,heard cases relating to 73 petitions,” reported The Express Tribune on May 3.

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