On 26/6/2012 around 7 p.m. news broke out that Sarabjit Singh was to be released as Asif Ali Zardari was to commute his death sentence to life which he had already completed as he was in prison for over 14 years he had spent 22 years in jail. Sarabjit Singh was in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore. The news was too good to be true. The decision would have been unpopular in Pakistan.
Ansar Burney, Asma Jehangir and Awaiz Sheikh had tried for Sarabjitâ€™s release. After the news broke out some Maulvis demonstrated outside Lahore Press Club against the release.
There were celebrations in Sarabjit Singhâ€™s family. Markandey Katju, who was out of news for a long time, wrote a letter to Asif Ali Zardari thanking him for the pardon.
Something changed during the night. Around 1 a.m. came the news that Surjeet Singh will be released and not Sarabjit Singh. There was miscommunication. Sarabjit Singhâ€™s family members felt it was a cruel joke. Some said it was a diversionary tactic meant to divert attention from the arrest of Abu Jundal wanted in 26/11 case. Surjeet Singhâ€™s family celebrated at unexpected good news.
This is a lesson for TV channels who get into Breaking News quoting sources. Some channels cancel their regular programmes to run such reports without official word from government.
Khalil Chisti got bail and went to Pakistan. Some hoped Pakistan will release Sarabjit. Pakistan released Surjeet. Previously Pakistan had released Gopal Dass and Kashmir Singh. We do not know how many Indians are in Pakistani jails with no one pleading for their release.
On 7/4/2011 Gopal Dass crossed the Wagah border and stepped into India. He was in Pakistani prison for 27 years. Prior to release it had been reported that Gopal Dass had inadvertently crossed the border and stepped into Pakistan. Gopal Dass after his entry into India said he was an Indian spy, had gone to Pakistan to spy, did not regret spying for India as it was his duty but the government abandoned him and did not want Indians to spy for the government. There are at least 30 Indian spies in Pakistani jails.
India regularly sends spies to Pakistan some of whom get caught. Mohanlal Bhaskar wrote his autobiography. He and many other Indian spies were betrayed by an Indian spy. The betrayer was also put in jail by Pakistanis.
India should acknowledge its spies and have an agreement with Pakistan for exchange of spies caught. Americans and Russians do it.
Some years back Kashmir Singh was released. He told he was a spy. Some days later Hamid Mir, a Pakistani, said on Times Now, Pakistan released Kashmir Singh and he went smiling. Next day India sent the body of Khalid Mehmood, a Pakistani cricket fan who had gone to India to watch a cricket match. Khalid Mehmood had died a few days before Kashmir Singhâ€™s release. Some say he was a Pakistani spy.
One Indian spy who was released took part in a TV programme. He said Indian prisoners were kept separate from Pakistani prisoners.
Many countries send spies as diplomats and they have diplomatic immunity. When they are caught they are expelled and they return to their country. What does India want to know by sending spies? Many things can be known through satellites. Pakistan accuses India of terrorist activities. If Indian spies are doing it India should stop it.