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May 02, 2013 at 05:48pm IST

India won't internationalise Sarabjit Singh's death, 270 Indians still in Pak jails

New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday ruled out internationalising Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh's death following the brutal assault in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail even as 215 fishermen and 55 other Indian nationals continue to languish in Pakistani prisons as of January 1, 2013.

MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin while addressing a press conference on Thursday in New Delhi said, "India and Pakistan are wedded to bilateralism and we will follow this pattern." He went on to give details about Indians still suspected to be in Pakistani jails. Akbaruddin said that the two countries exchange lists of prisoners belong to each other on January 1 each year.

ALSO SEE Live: Sarabjit's body on way to Lahore airport, protests erupt in India

Akbaruddin also said that India was never were consulted about removing Sarabjit srom the life support system. "We wanted Sarabjit to live for as long as possible. We never were consulted about removing Sarabjit's life support system. Don't know by when Pakistan will share Sarabjit's post-mortem report. No information when we will get Sarabjit's autopsy report:," said Akbaruddin.

India rules out internationalising Sarabjit Singh's death

MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said India and Pakistan are wedded to bilateralism and we will follow this pattern.

Akbaruddin added that Pakistan did not do enough to keep Sarabjit safe. "The norm worldwide is that the state is responsible for prisoners. So no arguments about Pakistan's responsibility for Sarabjit's safety," he said.

ALSO SEE Sarabjit Singh's sister says Pak activist Ansar Burney demanded Rs 25 crore to save her brother

A special Air India plane has left for Pakistan to bring back the body of Sarabjit, who was brutally attacked in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail by fellow inmates on April 26. 49-year-old Sarabjit died of cardiac arrest in a Lahore hospital in the wee hours on Thursday after being comatose following the brutal assault.

Sarabjit's body was handed over to Indian officials at Lahore hospital on Thursday. MoS External Affairs Preneet Kaur will receive Sarabjit's body when it arrives in India.

ALSO SEE Murder charges against Sarabjit's attackers

Indian government announces compensation of Rs 25 lakh to Sarabjit Singh's family. Sarabjit Singh's sister Dalbir Kaur lashed out at Pakistan for her brother's death and called for a war against the nation. She alleged that human rights activist Ansar Burney had asked for a huge amount to get Sarabjit back to India. "Had I paid Rs 25 crore to Ansar Burney, Sarabjit would have returned to India," Dalbir Kaur said. Calling Pakistan 'coward', she said the political class of India should unite against Pakistan. She also called Sarabjit a martyr.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said Sarabjit Singh's death was a setback to people-to-people contact between India and Pakistan. "It's a terrible psychological, emotional setback for us," Khurshid said.

The police had booked two death row prisoners Amer Aftab and Mudassar for the attack on Sarabjit. They reportedly told investigators that they had attacked Sarabjit because he had allegedly carried out bomb attacks in Lahore. No action has been taken so far against officials of the jail for failing to provide adequate security to Sarabjit.

Sarabjit's wife Sukhpreet Kaur, daughters Poonam and Swapandeep Kaur and sister Dalbir Kaur, who went to Lahore on Tuesday to see him, returned to India on Wednesday.

Sarabjit was convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990 and spent about 22 years in Pakistani prisons. His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf. The previous Pakistan People's Party-led government put off Sarabjit's execution for an indefinite period in 2008. Sarabjit's family says he was the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state.

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