By S. M. Hali

As a gesture of goodwill, Pakistan released the septuagenarian Indian prisoner Surjeet Singh, who had suffered incarceration for more than three decades in Pakistani jails, on 28th June 2012 and handed him over to Indian authorities at Wagah Border. Surjeet never admitted his guilt but no sooner he crossed the border, a garlanded Surjeet Singh gleefully announced to the Indian media gathered to cover the first hours of his new found freedom, that he had spied for Indian Army and Indian Intelligence Agency ‘RAW’ (Research and Analysis Wing). Apparently he was mocking his erstwhile captors but he directly criticized his home country, complaining that no one from the Indian Government bothered about him or his family after his arrest. According to the Indian media, Surjeet was soon whisked away by security agencies, before he could do further “damage” through his new found freedom, including “freedom of speech”. Now the Indian Government, is taking pains to denounce Surjeet’s “confession” that he had been sent to Pakistan as a spy. A fresh spin has been added that the release of Surjeet by Pakistan was timed to take the attention off the arrest of Syed Zabiuddin alias Abu Jindal, alleged key suspect in the 26/11 Mumbai attack despite the fact that Abu Jindal is an Indian citizen.

The Sardar Ji’s statement after setting foot on Indian soil, cannot be construed as a statement of mental depravity, since he was of sound health in body and mind, as examined by doctors before his release; but it is ample evidence that launching its agents to carry out espionage, sedition and sabotage into Pakistan has been a decades’ old practice of RAW.

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Take the case of Sarabjeet Singh, for whose release Indian and Pakistani human rights activists have been clamouring, while the Indian government has been pressing hard, may yet see freedom soon. As far as Sarabjeet Singh’s case is concerned, he has confessed that he carried out many bomb blasts in different cities of Pakistan which caused deaths of more than twenty innocent Pakistani citizens. The relatives of the victims of Sarabjeet Singh have been demonstrating against the release of the person, they label as a “demon” whose heinous crimes resulted in the deaths and maiming for life as casualties in the acts of sabotage.

The 2008 release of Kashmir Singh, another “confessed” Indian spy, after suffering 35 years of imprisonment is a point to ponder. Ansar Burney, renowned human rights activist and then Minister of Human Rights had advocated fervently for the release of Kashmir Singh. Like Surjeet Singh, Kashmir Singh too had never confessed to being an Indian Spy but the moment he crossed into the safe climes of his home country, Kashmir Singh announced from rooftops that he was indeed an Indian spy, making a mockery of the humanitarian gesture by Ansar Burney and the then President of Pakistan, who had granted clemency to Kashmir Singh.  

The point is not that RAW sends its agents into Pakistan because in all probability, ISI may also be indulging in similar activities. Espionage has been termed as the second oldest profession in the world. It cannot be justified despite the fact that the 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, Sarabjeet Singhs and numerous others, still rotting in Pakistani jails. Firstly that India should acknowledge that ever since the advent of the Kashmiri freedom movement in 1989, it has been sending its agents into Pakistan, not simply for espionage but for conducting acts of sabotage and disruption of civic activities in order to pressurize Pakistan to discontinue its alleged support to the Kashmir Freedom Movement. India has been blaming Pakistan for conducting cross border terrorism, but these confessions prove that India itself is indulging in crimes against humanity, e.g. through the rebirth of Mullah Fazlullah, Tehrik-e-Taliban (Pakistan) et-al.

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Secondly, the RAW agents being launched into Pakistan are mostly impoverished and simple rustic folk hailing from border areas, recruited, trained and dispatched for conducting their gory deeds in Pakistan. 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 the Indian spies after being set free prove that the verdict of Pakistani courts after a free and fair trial, are genuine; a fact not acknowledged by India.