Islamabad: Reacting to the brutal attack and consequent death of Indian convict Sarabjit Singh, an editorial in a Pakistani daily has said that the incident could affect relations between India and Pakistan, making matters worse for the latter whose image has taken a blow internationally.
The editorial in The Express Tribune said that not only were Sarabjit's rights as a prisoner violated, but the inaction of jail authorities exposes the conditions of Pakistani jails.
Sarabjit was convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990. His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former president Pervez Musharraf.
Sarabjit, 49, sustained several injuries, including a skull fracture, when six prisoners attacked him in Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday afternoon. He was hit on the head with bricks and his neck and torso cut with sharp weapons. He finally succumbed to his injuries in Lahore's Jinnah Hospital on Thursday.
Pakistan has arrested two prisoners and charged them with Singh's murder. 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, the editorial said.
Sarabjit's safety and well-being was the responsibility of the Pakistani state. It is 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. It is outright criminal negligence on the part of the jail authorities. The government must answer what measures, if any, were taken after his lawyer requested greater security for him in light of the threats, the editorial further said.
It added that strict action must be taken against those police officials who were responsible for Sarabjit's security. The government must ensure that a transparent investigation takes place and jail authorities are taken to task.
It concluded by saying that it is in Pakistan's interest to maintain peaceful relations with all its neighbours, especially India.