New Delhi: The good news for one family turned to shock for another in India after Pakistan’s top office on Tuesday midnight took a U-turn on the release of death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh. Even if the actual reason behind the major flip-flop is yet to clear, buzz is around that the cruel joke at the diplomatic level was not a mistake but a mischief.

Click here: Surjeet-Sarabjit Drama in Pics

Several theories are making rounds in the diplomatic and media circles on the whole issue.

•    Firstly, the announcement of release of much-talked Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh is being seen as a friendly gesture of the neighbouring nation ahead of the Foreign Secretary level talks between both the countries in early July this year. However, the series of events took an ugly turn.

•    The second theory points out figures on the Pakistan’s security establishments and the extremist wing or jihadis, who is assumed to have pressurized Pakistan’s civilian government to take back the release orders.

•    Lastly and most importantly the act of Pakistan is more evidently being seen as an intentional drama played to divert India’s attention from the recent arrest of 26/11 key handler Abu Jundal.

The Sarabjit-Surjeet goof up has also hit the hornet’s nest in the political corridors back in India. Miffed by the name game, the BJP has asked the Central Government to clear its stand on the matter. The Opposition party also accused the UPA government of not being aggressive and offensive with Pakistan to secure the release of the jailed Indian. Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy has even asked the Indian government to break ties with the neighbouring country. Seeking a clarification from External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, BJP spokesperson Jagat Prakash Nadda said, “How did Sarabjit of the night before become Surjeet in the morning?”
Describing Sarabjit’s release as a “sensitive and emotive” issue, the BJP spokesman said,

“India wants to know why did the office of Pakistan President Asif Zardari take five long hours to deny that Sarabjit is not being released. “And why did our External Affairs Minister take 18 hours to speak on the issue?” Nadda asked.

Five questions that raises everyone’s eyebrow

Q1.How did Sarabjit of the night before become Surjeet in the morning?

Q2.Has Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari signed the release orders of Surjeet?

Q3.Why was Pakistan mum when news of Sarabjit’s release broke out in the news channel of both the nations?

Q4.Why did Asif Ali Zardari take five hours to deny Sarabjit was not being released?

Q5.Why did SM Krishna take 18 long hours to react on the sensitive issue?

‘Sarabjit flip-flop, an international embarrassment’

Meanwhile, the Pakistan media has dubbed the entire episode as an international embarrassment for the Pakistan government.

The "case of mistaken identity turned what should have been a moving occasion into international embarrassment", prominent Pakistan newspaper said in its front-page report.
The website of a leading newspaper described the development as a U-turn taken by the government in an "unusual way".

There was speculation in the social media, especially Twitter, on whether the government had been forced to backtrack on any possible move to free Sarabjit due to pressure from the powerful security establishment.

"It is unclear how the mix-up took place – whether it was official quarters whose information was mistaken or if the reporting by the media was the guilty party," said the report in The Express Tribune.

Pakistani TV news channels were the first to report on Tuesday afternoon that the President had commuted Sarabjit’s death sentence to life imprisonment and directed authorities to take steps to release him if he had completed his jail term.

The midnight drama is a mistaken event or the fault of media is an unanswered question for the Indians and Sarabjit’s family.

Sonakshi Kishore/JPN

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