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Pakistan gets into damage control mode after Sarabjit's death

Press Trust of India
May 02, 2013 at 09:15pm IST

Lahore: In a damage control exercise shortly after Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh died in a Lahore hospital, Pakistani authorities on Thursday slapped murder charges against two jail inmates for his brutal killing and ordered a judicial probe.

The decisions came after stinging criticism from India as also Sarabjit's family on Pakistan's refusal to hand over Sarabjit for better treatment and its inability to provide adequate security despite having being warned of threats to his life.

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Sarabjit, the second Indian prisoner to die in Pakistan's notorious Kot Lakhpat jail here in Lahore in 2013, was brutally attacked on Friday by six fellow inmates as he and other prisoners were brought out of their cells for a break.

Pak gets into damage control mode after Sarabjit's death

Najam Sethi, the caretaker CM of Pakistan's Punjab province, assured the Indian High Commissioner that those responsible for the murder will be brought to justice.

The Lahore Police added murder charges to the FIR registered against death row prisoners Amer Aftab alias Amer Tambewala and Mudassar who were booked for the attack on 49-year-old Sarabjit. Officials at Kot Lakhpat police station confirmed that they had added Section 302 (murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code against Aftab and Mudassar after the death of Sarabjit.

His body was handed over to Indian High Commission officials and flown to Amristar on a special Air India aircraft after an autopsy was conducted at the Jinnah Hospital in Lahore. Sarabjit died of cardiac arrest in a Lahore hospital at 1:30 am (IST) on Thursday after being comatose for nearly a week following the assault.

Police investigators are yet to complete their probe into the attack. They recorded the statements of both accused but are yet to submit a 'challan' or chargesheet against them in court. They have also failed to trace the weapons used in the assault.

Najam Sethi, the caretaker Chief Minister of Pakistan's Punjab province, on Thursday assured Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sahbarwal that those responsible for the murder of Sarabjit will be brought to justice.

The Indian envoy, who was on a scheduled visit to Lahore, met Sethi to discuss the issue of Sarabjit. Sethi ordered a judicial enquiry and directed officials to ensure that the probe was completed in 15 days. "Chief Minister Najam Sethi has directed the Home Department to prepare terms of reference for a judicial inquiry into the murder of Sarabjit Singh.

The inquiry would be completed within 15 days," a Punjab government spokesman told reporters. The inquiry will be conducted by a High Court judge, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

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