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How the Sarabjit-Surjeet saga unfolded


Altamash Hashmi,CNN-IBN
Jun 27, 2012 at 06:46pm IST

New Delhi: There was a cruel twist of fate for Indian prisoner in Pakistan Sarabjit Singh and his family. Hours after announcing that he would be released, Islamabad confirmed that it's not him, but another Indian prisoner Surjeet Singh who is being sent home.

The confusion that was created over Sarabjit Singh's released seems more of a communication error. CNN-IBN traces how the Sarabjit-Surjeet story developed through Tuesday evening right up to midnight.

6:50 pm: Pakistani TV channels broke the news that Sarabjit Singh's death sentence has been commuted by President Asif Ali Zardari.

7:00 pm: The Indian media picked up the story.

7:20 pm: Pakistan's Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar is asked by CNN-IBN about confirmation on Sarabjit's release.

7:20 pm: Farhatullah Babar talks about Surjeet Singh's release but does not clarify that the man to be released is not Sarabjit Singh.

7:22 pm: In the phone interview, Farhatullah Babar fails to recognise the difference between Surjeet and Sarabjit Singh.

8:00 pm: External Affairs Minister SM Krishna thanked Pakistan on the basis of media reports.

Pakistan government takes five hours to issue a clarification on the Sarabjit/Surjeet confusion.

12:00 midnight: Farhatullah Babar sends the media an SMS clarifying that the release is of Surjeet Singh and not Sarabjit Singh,

Notably, the Pakistan government till now has not given a 'written press release' on the fiasco.

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