As a gesture of goodwill, Pakistan released the septuagenarian Indian prisoner, Surjeet Singh, who had suffered incarceration for more than three decades in Pakistani jail, on June 28, 2012, and handed him over to the Indian authorities at Wagah border.
According to the Indian media, Surjeet was soon whisked away by the security agencies before he could do further “damage” through his newfound freedom, including “freedom of speech”. Now New Delhi is trying to denounce his “confession” that he was a spy.
A fresh spin has been added to it. That the release of Surjeet by Pakistan was timed to take the attention off the arrest of Syed Zabiuddin alias Abu Jindal, the alleged key suspect in the 26/11 Mumbai attack, despite the fact that he is an Indian citizen.
The sardar ji’s statement after setting foot on the Indian soil cannot be construed as a statement of mental depravity, since he was completely fit as declared by the doctors before his release. However, it is evident that recruiting agents to carry out espionage and sabotage in Pakistan has been RAW’s decades-old practice.
Take the case of Sarabjit, for whose release the Pakistani and Indian human rights activists have been clamouring, while New Delhi has been pressing hard, may yet see freedom soon. As far as his case is concerned, Sarabjit has confessed that he carried out several bomb blasts in different cities of Pakistan, killing more than 20 innocent people. The victims’ families’ have been demonstrating against his release who they believe is a “demon”.
The 2008 release of Kashmir Singh - another Indian spy - after suffering 35 years of imprisonment is a case to ponder. Ansar Burney, the renowned human rights activist and then Minister of Human Rights, had advocated fervently for his release. Like Surjeet, Kashmir had never confessed of being a spy. But later, he too admitted it and made a mockery of the humanitarian gesture by the Minister and the then President of Pakistan, who had granted clemency.
Anyway, espionage has been has been called the world’s second oldest profession. It cannot be justified, despite the fact that most advanced and developed nations in the world also indulge in the clandestine activity; and tales of cloak and dagger abound plenty in various capitals of the world. However, three factors emerge from the sordid episodes of Kashmir, Surjeet, Sarabjit and numerous others still in Pakistani jails.
Firstly, New Delhi should accept the fact that ever since the advent of the Kashmiri freedom movement in 1989, it has been sending its agents into Pakistan; not only for espionage, but also sabotage in order to pressurise successive governments in Islamabad to discontinue its alleged support for the struggle. India has been blaming Pakistan for cross border terrorism. However, these confessions prove that India, itself, is indulging in crimes against humanity.
Secondly, RAW agents sent to Pakistan for spying are mostly impoverished and simple, rustic folk hailing from the border areas. Once these simpletons are apprehended by Pakistani authorities, their handlers and employers dump them and their families to suffer indefinitely without support.
Thirdly, the confessions of Indian spies after being set free prove that the verdicts of Pakistani courts after a free and fair trial are genuine; a fact not acknowledged by India!
n The writer is a political and defence analyst.