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May 03, 2013 at 08:54am IST

Pakistan maintains Sarabjit Singh's death was not a conspiracy

Lahore: Pakistan continues to maintain that there was no conspiracy involved in the attack on Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh in the Kot Lakhpat Jail. Najam Sethi, the caretaker Chief Minister of Pakistan's Punjab, spoke to CNN-IBN's Karan Thapar and said, "The jail authorities and administration were not expecting anything like this. There was not even a hint that such a threat might be posed. We were more worried about terrorism and attacks on the jail from the outside."

When asked if this was a conspiracy, Sethi said, "I don't think it's the case. Everything that I read on the subject from internal sources suggests that this was an act by two prisoners on death row and if you know the mental state or the health of prisoners on death row and their interactions with Sarabjit during the time they were together, I don't think there is iota of truth in this suspicion." Following is an excerpt from Karan Thapara's interview with Najam Sethi:

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Karan Thapar: Would you accept that Sarabjit's death after a brutal attack in Kot Lakhpat jail is proof of criminal negligence on part of the jail authorities?

Najam Sethi: The jail authorities and administration were not expecting anything like this. There was not even a hint that such a threat might be posed. We were more worried about terrorism and attacks on the jail form the outside.

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Karan Thapar: Are you saying to me that this is not negligence?

Najam Sethi: At one level it obviously is, which is why we've suspended 7 officials and launched inquiries both at the the Home Secretary level and today I've announced an inquiry at the judicial level. So yes, we will hold people responsible because it is an act of negligence.

Karan Thapar: In India, the widespread belief is that this was a planned murder. It was a conspiracy.

Najam Sethi: I don't think it's the case. Everything that I read on the subject from internal sources suggests that this was an act by 2 prisoners on death row and if you know the mental state or health of prisoners on death row and their interactions with Sarabjit during the time they were together, I don't think there is iota of truth in this suspicion.

Karan Thapar: Hafiz Saeed led processions publicly calling for Sarabjit's execution in response and in revenge for Afzal hanging. Secondly, at that time Sarabjit himself received death threats from Kot Lakhpat jail inmates.

Najam Sethi: I have not seen any evidence of this sort.

Karan Thapar: His lawyer has presented a letter that Sarabjit has written to his family where he talks about the death threats he's received. Your intelligence wasn't aware of any of this?

Najam Sethi: No. I mean, I've just come in. I've not seen the earlier files. What I can say for sure is that there was negligence. I am not aware of any conspiracy.

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