Islamabad: The murder of Indian death row convict Sarabjit Singh in a Pakistani jail has the potential to impact bilateral relations and authorities must get to the bottom of the affair and punish everyone responsible for his death, the Pakistani media said today.
News of the brutal attack on Sarabjit in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail last week and his death yesterday figured on the front pages of most Pakistani dailies today.
Sarabjit, 49, died of cardiac arrest after being comatose for nearly a week following the attack by other prisoners on April 26.
The front page report in the The Express Tribune said: 'After spending 22 years, eight months and three days in a Pakistani prison Sarabjit Singh returned to India on Thursday not to be reunited with his family, but to be laid to rest."
An editorial in the Tribune, titled 'Sarabjit Singh's tragic end', said, "It is not enough to just go after the prisoners who attacked him but the jail authorities must be dealt with an iron hand as well."
Sarabjit's safety and well-being was the responsibility of the Pakistani state, it said.
The Tribune warned that the incident could affect relations between India and Pakistan.
"In order to avoid a diplomatic row, it is hoped that the government will conduct a proper inquiry," it said.
Though it was not clear whether the attack was pre-planned, it was a "matter of grave concern that an Indian prisoner, whose lawyer had repeatedly warned of serious threats to his life, was beaten to pulp in a Pakistani prison".
A "transparent investigation" should focus on the role of jail authorities so that they can be "taken to task", the editorial said.
Following the hanging in Delhi of Afzal Guru over a terrorist attack on the Indian parliament in 2001, several rights groups and Sarabjit's lawyer had asked Pakistani authorities to increase his security.
The News, in its editorial, said the "long-drawn-out story of Sarabjit Singh has ended in tragedy" though his execution was postponed several times thanks to a campaign for his release. MORE