Sarabjit Singh’s death: Events as they unfolded



Sarabjit Singh’s death: Events as they unfolded Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi/Lahore: As Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh died of "cardiac arrest" in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail early Thursday morning following a brutal attack a week back, India today expressed anger and outrage over the development.

The government described Sarabjit Singh's passing away as "the killing of our citizen while in the custody of Pakistan jail authorities" and asked it to conduct a "thorough investigation" to identify those responsible for the attack on him and "ensure they are punished".

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described Sarabjit as "a brave son of India" and regretted that the Pakistan government had not heeded to the pleas of the Indian government to take a humanitarian view in the case.

Sarabjit will be accorded a state funeral in his hometown of Bhikhiwind in Punjab tomorrow with full state honours.

Here are the latest updates in the case:

9:50 pm: Indian Air Force chopper carrying Sarabjit’s body from Amritsar reaches his native village Bhikhiwind.

7:52 pm:Plane carring Sarabjit's body lands at Amritsar airport.

7:25 pm:Airbus 319 carrying Sarabjit’s body takes off from Lahore airport.

6:45 pm: Basic paperwork completes at Lahore airport. Special plane, waiting at Lahore airport to bring back Sarabjit’s body, to take off shortly.

6:05 pmFlight to bring back Sarabjit to India was delayed for sometime as the basic paperwork had not been completed.

6:00 pm: Sarabjit family reaches their native village Bhikiwind. Thousands gather to pay their respects to Sarabjit Singh.

5:55 pm: Second autopsy of Sarabjit to be done in India.

5:46 pm Fearing backlash in the wake of death of Sarabjit Singh, Tihar Jail authorities have stepped up security for all the 20 Pakistani inmates lodged in the high-security jail.

4:20 pm Those responsible for the murder of Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh will be brought to justice, Najam Sethi, the caretaker CM of Pakistan's Punjab province said.

4:36 pm: Sarabjit Singh's body handed over to Indian officials at Lahore hospital.

4:27 pm: Home Ministry issues advisory to all states asking them to step up security of all Pakistani prisoners lodged in their respective jails.

4:12 pm: Syed Akbaruddin says as per the list in January 2013, there are 215 Indian fishermen and 55 Indian nationals other than fishermen in Pakistani jails.

4:10 pm: If Sarabjit was guilty, Indian wouldn't have asked for his release, says MEA spokesperson.

4:08 pm: Don't know when we will get Sarabjit's autopsy report, says Syed Akbaruddin.

4:06 pm: The Air India plane with only crew onboard will reach Lahore in an hour's time, says the spokesperson. He adds two officials of the Indian High Commission will be onboard on return journey; doesn't say when will the plane arrive back in India.

4:05 pm:External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin briefs the press, says special plane took off at 3:46 pm for Lahore to bring back Sarabjit Singh's body.

4:05 pm: Pak human rights activist reacts to Dalbir Kaur's allegations of Rs 25 crores being sought for Sarabjit's release, asks, "Is this the reward for me to help Dalbir Kaur, her family and other Indian prisoners on humanitarian and compassionate grounds?"

3:15 pm: An ex-gratia payment of Rs 25 lakhs has been announced from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund for the family of Sarabjit Singh, say reports.

3:05 pm: Sources say Sarabjit Singh's body will be brought back this evening and his funeral will take place in his native place at 2:00 pm tomorrow.

3:00 pm: A Pakistani medical board completes autopsy on body of Sarabjit; first post-mortem report expected in three weeks.

2:40 pm: Indian Foreign Secretary speaks to his Pakistani counterpart, asks him to speed up the process of handing over Sarabjit's body.

2:10 pm: Sarabjit Singh's body brought to Emergency ward for post-mortem in Lahore.

2:00 pm: Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit calls Sarabjit's death "an unfortunate incident".

1:55 pm: The External Affairs Minister will tell us what actions are to be taken next, says Kamal Nath.

1:55 pm: Parliament has passed a resolution to condemn Sarabjit Singh's death, says Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, and adds Pakistan has shown its real face.

1:40 pm: Diplomatic relations with Pakistan should be scaled down and India's High Commissioner should be called back, demands Rajnath Singh.

1:40 pm: Sarabjit's death is a diplomatic failure of UPA govt; it must ensure safety of other Indian prisoners in Pakistan, says BJP president Rajnath Singh.

12:50 pm: Sources say Sarabjit's body could arrive in India by 1:30 pm today. Security has been tightened in Sarabjit's village.

12:40 pm: Caretaker Chief Minister of Pakistan's Punjab province, Najam Sethi, has ordered a judicial inquiry into the death of Sarabjit Singh.

12:35 pm: Union Minister Farooq Abdullah expresses doubt that Pakistan will allow Sarabjit Singh's body to be returned.

12:20 pm: These weren't non-state actors, says BJP's Arun Jaitley in Rajya Sabha on Sarabjit Singh's death.

12:10 pm: Sarabjit Singh's death in Pakistan is an extra judicial killing, says Narendra Modi.

11:16 am: Every Indian is asking about the steps our government is taking to send a strong message to Pakistan, says Smriti Irani of the BJP.

11:15 am: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi meets Sarabjit Singh's family in the national capital.

11:10 am: India to send a special plane to Lahore to bring back the body of Sarabjit Singh, adds Shinde.

11:10 am: Modalities to bring Sarabjit's body back are being worked out, says Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

11:05 am: SAD MP Harsimrat Kaur says the Punjab CM has said that Sarabjit will be given state honour and both his daughters will be given jobs.

11:00 am: Khurshid says the government will issue a statement in Parliament and adds the PM has already conveyed his anguish.

11:00 am: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid says the death of Sarabjit Singh has hurt the long-lasting Indo-Pak relationship. "My prayers go out to the family," the minister says.

10:50 am: Pakistani police slaps murder charges against two death row prisoners who were booked for the brutal assault on fellow-inmate Sarabjit Singh.

10:45 am: Pakistan government will continue to facilitate for the early completion of all formalities and hand over the mortal remains to Indian High Commission, adds the Foreign Ministry.

10:45 am: Despite Jinnah Hospital's best efforts, they could not save him and Sarabjit Singh passed away due to cardiac arrest, says Pakistan's Foreign Ministry.

10:40 am: I have been saying that an innocent can't be killed, today he has been murdered, says Sarbjit's sister.

10:40 am: Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur accuses Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari of killing her brother. "India's Sarabjit Singh has been martyred, an Indian has been killed. Zardari killed him," she says.

10:33 am: It is very unfortunate, Pakistan has again shown its true colours, says Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath.

10:15 am: The Pakistani establishment must account for Sarabjit's death, Tewari says, and adds what has happened is extremely inhuman, barbaric and it is not the way a civilized state treats their prisoners.

10:15 am: An Indian citizen has been murdered in cold blood in the custody of the Pakistani state, says Manish Tewari of the Congress.

10:05 am: Sarabjit's is not a death but a murder. No human rights or rule of law exists in Pakistan and our government has also faltered in dealing with Islamabad, says Meenakshi Lekhi of BJP.

10:00 am: He wasn't guilty and not even released on humanitarian grounds; the development is very unfortunate, it seems to be a conspiracy, says SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar.

9:55 am: This is not just a death but a murder, adds Alvi.

9:55 am: Pakistan is responsible for this, Sarabjit Singh's body is being brought back, says Rashid Alvi of Congress.

9:50 am: It is a cold blooded murder. This is not the way civilized nations behave, tweets Sushma Swaraj on Sarabjit's death.

9:45 am: Protests erupt at Sarabjit Singh's hometown Bhikhiwind in Punjab.

9:15 am: Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal is expected to meet the Chief Minister of Pakistan's Punjab province at 11:00 am to work out the modalities of bringing back Sarabjit's body.

9:10 am: Sarabjit's body likely to be flown back in a special helicopter.

9:10 am: Pakistan sources say Islamabad has agreed to hand over Sarabjit Singh's body to his family.

8:45 am: Four member medical team to conduct Sarabjit Singh's post-mortem.

8:35 am: The death of Sarabjit Singh is "the killing of our citizen while in the custody of Pakistan jail authorities", says the External Affairs Ministry.

8:30 am: Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde meets Sarabjit Singh's family and assures them that government is trying its best to bring back his body.

8:10 am: BJP's Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi says Sarabjit's death has angered the nation.

8:00 am: Centre is unable to give a strong answer to Pakistan's inhuman acts. Beheading of our soldiers and now Sarabjit's death are two recent examples, says Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.

8:00 am: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal demands independent probe into Sarabjit's death, says he would be given a state-level funeral after his body is brought back to Punjab.

7:50 am: Criminals responsible for the barbaric and murderous attack on Sarabjit must be brought to justice, demands PM.

7:50 am: PM regrets that Pakistan did not heed pleas of India and Sarabjit's family for taking a humanitarian view in this case.

7:50 am: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expresses sadness over passing away of Sarabjit Singh.

3:30 am: Sarabjit should be declared a martyr, demands family.

2:00 am: Sarabjit Singh's death occurred at 1:00 am Pakistani time, says head of medical board.

1:55 am: Sarabjit Singh is dead, confirms head of medical board supervising his treatment.

1:50 am: Indian convict Sarabjit Singh is dead, say Pakistani TV channels but no official word on it.