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No evidence against Pak govt in Sarabjit attack: Pramit Pal Chaudhuri


Updated: April 29, 2013, 5:08 PM IST
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No evidence against Pak govt in Sarabjit attack: Pramit Pal Chaudhuri
How is the attack on Sarabjit Singh within jail premises likely to impact India-Pakistan ties?

How is the attack on Sarabjit Singh within jail premises likely to impact India-Pakistan ties? Will Pakistan allow Sarabjit Singh to be treated abroad? If he recovers, does this increase the chances of his release? Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, foreign editor, Hindustan Times, joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. When India spent crores of tax payers' hard earned money in keeping Kasab and other Pakistani prisoners safe, why was the same not done to Indian prisoners in Pakistan? Don't you think there is Pakistani government involvement, directly or indirectly, in this attack. Asked by: sakuntala

A. We don't have any evidence of Pakistani government involvement. My gut instinct is that there isn't. President Zardari has no bone to pick with India. General Kayani does, but this is too small for him to care about. Sarabhjit has not been an election issue in Pakistan. I can't rule out a lower level military or police official manipulating things so Sarabjit was attacked. The problem is that Pakistan is in such a state of anarchy that what is planned or simply a result of this anarchy is hard to tell. This does not mean, however, that Pakistan should not be held responsible.

Q. Whether this is a clear cut violation of human rights by Pakistan and do you recollect this type of incidence any time before in the history of India & Pakistan or anywhere else in the world. Asked by: VPI

A. It is a clear cut violation of international laws governing the holding of foreign nationals. India took care of Kasab in part because it didn't want to sully the case against Pakistan that it wanted to build over 26/11. Though Islamabad accused Singh of being an Indian intelligence agent it never provided much evidence and clearly had less interest in securing him from harm.

Q. Its a clear case of REVENGE against KASAB and AFZAL guru. I think the Pak government instead of taking direct blame got this done through other prisoners. Asked by: S ESHWAR

A. Possibly. The degree of official involvement is almost impossible to tell. I doubt the civilian government - Zardari is not particularly anti-Indian. But the military and much of the security structure is. Keep in mind that Islamabad has long claimed, to the disbelief of everyone in the world, that India is responsible for the Tehreek e Taliban attacks on Pakistan, Singh, which it claims carried out similar attacks, would be a hate figure in Pakistan -- many of them believe the claim. Culpability would still lead back to Islamabad as it is the source of the disinformation.

Q. If he recovers, does this increase the chances of his release? Asked by: Sunil

A. I would say yes. It would have to wait for the elections in Pakistan to end. Islamabad's civilian government was inching towards his release in my view, waiting for an opportune break. Fingers crossed that Singh does indeed recover.

Q. Will Pakistan allow Sarabjit Singh to be treated abroad? Asked by: HS

A. I am not sure. I fear he is too far gone to be able to travel. But moving him to Dubai may not be impossible. I suspect though Pakistan is not that interested in his fate during an election period.

Q. How is the attack on Sarabjit Singh within jail premises likely to impact India-Pakistan ties? Asked by: sri

A. Not much. Relations are already stalled thanks to 26/11, elections on both sides and uncertainty about the geopolitical environment as the US withdraws from Afghanistan. By the time the wheel starts turning again, the Sarabjit affair will have receded into the background.

Q. The incident appears to be linked to the hanging of Afzal Guru in India early this year and apparent vengeance sought for this on a man who obviously had no role at all to play in that event. Asked by: Gautam Sinha Ray

A. We are uncertain. If it was prisoners acting on their own then we assume the two hangings played a role. Personal enmity has been sighted. As I mentioned elsewhere, Pakistanis have been told by their military that he Taliban depredations against them have been fomented by India. While no one else in the world believed this, many Pakistanis do and would hold Singh responsible.

Q. We have been tolerable towards our Pakistani counterparts since time immemorial but now they have shown their true face by treating Sarabjit in a in humane way.. this is deliberate attack on Sarabjit to divert the attention of media and government from Chinese incursion of border... do you think that this attack on Sarabjit would make India to think in a different way towards Pakistan? or is Indian government reluctant to take up this issue to the international level? Asked by: suneel kumar yadav

A. I doubt the attack will affect Indian policy. Relations are on hold anyway. And however reprehensible the attack, it is only the latest in a long line of terrible acts by Pakistan against India.

Q. In view of the Foreign Policy paralysis in South Block, can this government ever deal with sternly with Pakistan? Asked by: Shankar RS

A. The only short term policy that the government is hoping for is MFN status with Pakistan. There is a standard demand for action on 26/11. But we are heading into election mode. They are already there. So indifference rather than paralysis will be the order of the day.

Q. Does it really matter for selfish and corrupt political leadership,how Indian are treated abroad? Asked by: Atul

A. Even if they don't, they will because of public opinion and a concern the opposition will use it against them. That the Prime Minister came out so quickly with a statement was, I thought, unusual and a sign polls are due.

Q. What is the exact basis to attack Sarabjit Singh? Asked by: Shobana

A. Supposedly some prisoners took umbrage to something he said. But he had been receiving threats because of his Indian origins and his supposed RAW connection before that. I doubt we will ever know the true answer.

First Published: April 29, 2013, 5:08 PM IST
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