Saturday, April 27, 2013

We will continue efforts to bring back Sarabjit: Khurshid

MOSCOW, April 27, 2013

"Islamabad has promised best possible treatment to him"

Despite the limitations of a caretaker government in Pakistan, India will continue to make efforts to bring back death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who is in a coma after being assaulted by fellow inmates in a Lahore prison.

But for the moment, the matter is out of the purview of politicians and in the domain of doctors and Islamabad has promised the best possible treatment to him, said External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who is here to put India-Moscow ties on a firmer footing.

"We haven't been successful in persuading Pakistan to send back Sarabjit. He is in the Intensive Care Unit and our diplomats have had some access to him. We have also been successful in persuading Pakistan to issue visas to his family to visit him in the Lahore hospital. We are still very concerned about his medical condition and are hoping for the best. It is important that he recovers before we decide anything else," Mr. Khurshid told journalists accompanying him on his visit to Kazakhstan and Russia.

Asked why New Delhi appeared not to have pushed for his release vigorously, he pointed out that many efforts were kept outside the media's purview. But this was not a unilateral matter and New Delhi was not sure if the caretaker government in Pakistan would have the authority to take a decision of this nature.

"His situation is still critical. He has suffered injuries to the head, abdomen and other parts of his body. They are giving him the best possible treatment. As for bringing him back, this is a bilateral matter and there has to be a convergence of views. For the present, we are hoping that he is given the best possible attention," he said while acknowledging that his case had become the focal point of national attention.

The Minister declined to speculate whether the brutal assault on Sarabjit, who has been on death row for years, was the handiwork of the Lashkar-e-Taiba or the Inter Services Intelligence as is being alleged by a section of Indian media.

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