EXCLUSIVE: Sarabjit's letter exposes Pakistan and its lies
New Delhi: Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who died on Thursday after he was brutally beaten up by inmates in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail, had earlier written to his lawyer Awais Sheikh, saying his life was under threat.
Sarabjit had alleged that he was being "ill-treated" in the jail by staff as "taunting" by jail officials has become a routine matter.
"The Pakistani police and courts are hell bent to make me confess that I am Manjit Singh, not Sarabjit Singh. All investigators here have presumed that I was behind the Punjab province blasts (that killed 14 people in 1990)," reads the letter to his counsel.
The letter was brought to India by Awais Sheikh.
Manjit, who was on Pakistani security agencies' radar, was hiding in Canada and later he was apprehended.
Claiming innocence, Sarabjit had written entered into the Pakistani territory in inebriated condition. "I am a poor farmer and my arrest was a case of mistaken identity. I was drunk and strayed off the border. It seems that the Pakistani courts will release me soon. I am not involved in any crime here," he said in the letter.
On the night of August 28, 1990, Sarabjit was arrested by Pakistani border guards in an inebriated state on the Indo-Pak border near Kasur.
His wife Sukhpreet Kaur claims that he left to plough his fields near Wagah Border on August 28, 1990, but never returned. She said the family launched a search but could not find any clue to his whereabouts for nine months. Finally, they received a letter from Sarabjit informing them that he was caught by Pakistani border forces when he mistakenly crossed the border under the influence of liquor.
Alleging that the Pakistani legal system is "partial" and "biased", he said in the letter that "the courts here neither listened to me nor considered my arguments".
He accused the Pakistan's Federal Investigative Unit (FIU) of spreading propaganda against India.
He also alleged lack of medical facilities inside the prison where he has been lodged.
Sarabjit had written, "I am being given something in my food and this is happening for the past two to three months. My body is getting wasted. There is pain in my left arm and the left leg is getting weaker."
Sarabjit wrote that at times he felt unbearable pain in his leg.
Describing miseries he is facing in the jail, Sarabjit writes, "I have been put in solitary confinement. It is extremely difficult for me to wait for release."
Mentioning the police atrocities, Sarabjit says in the letter, "I was brutally beaten after I was caught at the border. I could not see who were hitting me as I was chained and blind folded."
In the yesterday’s assault, Sarabjit was allegedly assaulted by another death row prisoner Amer Aftab. The reason for the altercation could not immediately be ascertained.
Aftab, who was being held in a barrack near Sarabjit's barrack in one of the most secure sections of Kot Lakhpat Jail, was among six prisoners who attacked the Indian national at about 4.30 pm, said the sources.
The prisoners gathered near Sarabjit's barrack after evading guards, they said.
The prisoners overpowered two jail wardens and Aftab snatched the key of Sarabjit's cell and opened the door, they added.
Sarabjit was hit on the head with bricks and his face, neck and stomach were cut with blades and sharp pieces of a ghee tin, they said.
"When the staff found Singh, he was unconscious and bleeding profusely. The staff removed his clothes which were covered with blood. They put on the shirt and pants of a jail warden and took him to Jinnah Hospital," the jail officials said.
Earlier, unnamed officials of Kot Lakhpat Jail were quoted by Pakistani TV news channels as saying that only two prisoners – Amer Aftab and Mudassar – were involved in the attack.
The officials were also quoted as saying that Sarabjit was attacked when he and other prisoners were brought out of their cells for an hour-long break.
However, the sources rejected these claims and said Sarabjit was assaulted by at least six prisoners within his barrack.
Aftab, who was sentenced to death for murdering a mayor's brother, and Mudassar were locked up after the attack and interrogated, sources said.
Sarabjit is admitted to the state-run Jinnah Hospital with a severe head injury this evening and his condition was described as critical.
Authorities had tightened Sarabjit's security after the recent execution in India of Afzal Guru, who was convicted of involvement in the 2001 terror attack on the Indian parliament.
In January, another Indian prisoner in Kot Lakhpat Jail, Chambail Singh, died after allegedly being assaulted by prison staff.
Though he died in mysterious circumstances, Singh's autopsy was performed almost two months after his death.
Sarabjit was convicted for 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.
The outgoing Pakistan People's Party-led government put off Sarabjit's execution for an indefinite period in 2008.
Sarabjit's family says he is the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state.
Go on next slides to read the full letter written by Sarabjit Singh to his lawyer