As dawn broke over the subcontinent, telephones jangled across the border. Foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai spoke twice to his Pakistani counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani, to discuss the arrangements for the quick repatriation of Sarabjit Singh’s body.
Indian high commissioner Sharat Sabharwal met with the caretaker chief minister of Punjab province, Najam Sethi, in Lahore in the afternoon, who told him that a judicial inquiry had been ordered into the assault on Sarabjit. Here in New Delhi, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said the incident would impact bilateral ties negatively.
“A sustainable and long lasting relationship between two countries has to be between people. That relation has been hurt by what has happened today”, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid added.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said it was the worldwide norm that the safety and security of foreign prisoners is the responsibility of the host country.
“There cannot be two arguments in terms of the responsibilities of the authorities,” he asserted. It was made clear that Sarabjit’s ventilator support was removed without any permission from the Indian high commission or family
The Air India special flight that brought back Sarabjit’s body left to Lahore from New Delhi at 3.46 pm and reached there in less than an hour. MoS for external affairs Preneet Kaur along with other high state functionaries received Sarabjit’s body.