Lahore: The murder trial of Indian national Sarabjit Singh began at a high-security Pakistani jail here on Wednesday with a court holding the first hearing against alleged killers.
Two death row prisoners had brutally attacked 49-year-old Sarabjit at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in April last year. Sarabjit, who sustained severe injuries, including a fractured skull, died on May 2 of injuries sustained in the assault.
Police had booked Amer Aftab and Mudassar for the attack. They reportedly told investigators that they had attacked Sarabjit because he had allegedly carried out bomb attacks in Lahore.
Additional Sessions Judge Syed Anjum Raza started the hearing after the police filed a challan of the case before him. The judge adjourned the hearing till January 16.
The jail administration is a complainant to the case. A jail official said that the police had submitted the challan against the two accused for their alleged involvement in the killing.
Earlier, a single member-judicial commission had held a "thorough" inquiry of the incident and recorded the statements of over 50 people including Indian prisoners and jail staff.
Some 30 or so Indian prisoners are currently languishing at the Kot Lakhpat Jail. "The commission`s report will also be presented before the trial court as it is a part of the investigation," the official said.
Both the accused had also recorded their statements with the commission, confessing to the murder of Sarabjit.
They said: "We wanted to take revenge from him (Sarabjit) for killing the Pakistanis in bomb blasts in Lahore and Faisalabad," the official quoted a part from their statements.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan had declared Sarabjit`s murder "planned one". Sarabjit was convicted for alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province in 1990 that killed 14 people.
His family, however, said he was the victim of "mistaken identity" and had inadvertently strayed across the border.
His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf.
In 2008, the Pakistan People`s Party-led government had put off Sarabjit`s execution for an indefinite period.