Moscow: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Monday asked Pakistan to take "seriously" India's appeal for the release of Indian death row convict Sarabjit Singh, comatose in a Lahore hospital after a brutal assault. "We have been concerned of getting him (Sarabjit) back to India. We have been repeatedly pushing the matter. We have pulled out everything we know in diplomacy to reach out for this matter," Khurshid said in Moscow.
Khurshid is in Russia to co-chair the inter-session meeting of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC) with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. Sharing the anguish of Singh's family, Khurshid urged Pakistan to take "seriously" India's appeal for the prisoner's release. Sarabjit, 49, sustained several injuries, including a skull fracture, when six prisoners attacked him in Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday and doctors said his chances of survival were slim.
"In view of the recent tragic events and present circumstances, we once again appeal to the Government of Pakistan to take a sympathetic and humanitarian view of this case, and release Sarabjit Singh," a Ministry of External Affairs statement said in New Delhi. "Officials of the Indian High Commission are in touch with the medical authorities at Jinnah Hospital Lahore and we would like to consider the option of transferring Sarabjit Singh to India so that he can benefit from the best medical treatment available here," the statement said.
It reiterated its demands that the attack on Sarabjit be thoroughly investigated to identify those who were responsible and to ensure that they are punished. Ministry of External Affairs also noted that "it is the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan to ensure the safety and security of all Indian prisoners in their custody." On opposition criticism of the government's handling of Sarabjit's case, Khurshid said, "this is too important a matter for us as a nation. For me it is like entertaining frivolous criticism. As a nation we need to speak in one voice and if there are any concrete suggestions to what we can do, we would be very happy to entertain it."