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Attackers wanted to kill Sarabjit, main accused tell investigators

Press Trust of India
Apr 28, 2013 at 12:53pm IST

Lahore: The main accused in the brutal attack on Indian national Sarabjit Singh in a Pakistani jail have told investigators that the attackers planned to kill him to take revenge for bombings he was accused of carrying out in Lahore. According to a preliminary report prepared by Deputy Inspector General of Police (Prisons) Malik Mubashir, the accused Amer Aftab and Mudassar, both death row prisoners said they hated Sarabjit because he was accused of killing many Pakistanis in bomb blasts in Lahore in 1990.

Mubashir has submitted the report to the Home Department of Punjab province, official sources told PTI. For the attack on 49-year-old Sarabjit, the duo said they sharpened spoons to use as knives, made blades from pieces of empty ghee tin and collected bricks.

The moment they got an opportunity, they executed their plan "with ease", the accused were quoted as saying in the report. Sarabjit is currently in a coma and on ventilator in an ICU in Jinnah Hospital. Doctors have been working to revive him since he was attacked in Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday.

Attackers wanted to kill Sarabjit, say main accused

The duo said they sharpened spoons to use as knives, made blades from pieces of empty ghee tin and collected bricks.

His skull was fractured and he sustained injuries to his face, neck and torso during the assault. He was convicted for alleged involvement in a string of bombings in Pakistan's Punjab that killed 14 people in 1990.

Sarabjit's family says he is the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state. Aftab and Mudassar, however, could not offer satisfactory answers as to why they started hating Sarabjit and planned his murder only in the recent past though both had been held in Kot Lakhpat Jail for several years.

Mudassar and Aftab have been in the prison since 2005 and 2009, respectively. They also had no reply when they were asked by investigators whether someone had instigated them to kill Sarabjit or helped them in this regard.

They denied that they were associated with any religious or extremist group. However, the sources said investigators were not ruling out this possibility. "It appears almost as if that both the accused were told to read a written script regarding the motive for their crime," a source in the prison department told PTI. "It's very easy to create sympathy for their heinous crime by saying that they wanted to take revenge for those killed in the blasts Sarabjit was allegedly involved in," the source said.

The sources further said that authorities were trying to hush up the matter. "Unless a judicial commission probes the matter, the truth may remain concealed," another source said. The sources said there was a "planned murderous attack" on Sarabjit and there were many aspects of the matter that need to be looked into.

The inquiry conducted by DIG Mubashir also said a "huge security lapse" on the part of the jail administration had facilitated the attack. Two jail wardens Ehsanul Haq and Muhammad Safdar told the inquiry that they tried to save Sarabjit and sustained minor injuries while doing so.

The government has so far suspended some junior officials but no action has been taken against Punjab's Inspector General of Prisons Farooq Nazir, who failed to provide adequate security to Sarabjit despite intelligence reports about threats to his life. In a separate development, Lahore Police have been permitted by a local magistrate to interrogate Aftab and Mudassar, who were named in an FIR in an attempted murder case.

A police team is expected to question them in Kot Lakhpat Jail. Sarabjit's mercy petitions have been rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf. The outgoing Pakistan People's Party-led government put off Sarabjit's execution for an indefinite period in 2008.

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