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Released Indian Prisoner Surjeet Singh Says He Went To Pakistan To Spy

AMRITSAR – After 30 years of incarceration in Pakistan on charges of being a spy, Surjeet Singh returned home on Thursday to a tumultuous and teary welcome from family and friends.

Held in Pakistan on spying charges in the early 1980s, Surjeet, 69, was released from Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail early Thursday and made the road journey to Wagah, on the Pakistan side of the border, before entering his homeland.

When asked why he crossed over to Pakistan, he said, “Yes, I went there for spying.”

Smiling and waving to family members, friends and supporters, Surjeet thanked Pakistani border officials as he walked across the zero line at the international border.

He was garlanded and hugged by family members and fellow villagers from Phidde in Ferozepur district. Dozens of camera crews and media persons jostled with each other to capture the moment.

“I am very happy to return after 30 years and meeting my children and family,” Surjeet said.

“Indian prisoners are treated well in Pakistan jails. Sarabjit Singh is also doing well there. He has sent no message with me. Leave it to me, I will get him released,” Surjeet told reporters, referring to Sarabjit Singh, also from Punjab who has been in Kot Lakhpat jail.

Surjeet Singh said he used to meet Sarabjit, 49, on a weekly basis in the same prison.

“He is not facing any problems there. He is fine,” Surjeet told reporters at the Wagah border.

He claimed that all efforts for the release of Sarabjit Singh by India went in vain after it was highlighted in the media as certain groups in Pakistan opposed his release.

“I wish Sarabjit Singh is released at the earliest so that he could meet his family in India.”

About the drama after Pakistani TV channels flashed that Sarabjit Singh was being released and later stated that it not Sarabjit but Surjeet, he claimed, “All this happened due to spelling mistakes as in Urdu language the spelling of Surjeet and Sarabjeet are almost similar.”

He said, “Now I will make efforts to get Sarabjeet released from Pakistan…I don’t know how I will do it but, certainly, I will meet the authorities concerned in India for Sarabjeet.”

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