Sarabjit’s death has hurt people-to-people ties: Khurshid

Minister Salman Khurshid
Minister Salman Khurshid

NEW DELHI: Asserting that the death of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh has “hurt” people-to-people ties between India and Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid today hoped that the tragedy will help understand the cost of “hostility” between the two countries.

“For the present, I can only say that it is a terrible psychological and emotional setback to all of us and I believe to what we have been trying to do in terms of creating greater cohesion between people of India and people of Pakistan,” he told reporters here.

Khurshid said, “Governments can sometimes disagree, governments can sometimes sit together and talk but a sustainable and long-lasting relationship has to be between people and I think that today has been very, very sadly, in a very distressing manner, that is a relationship that has been hurt by this terrible tragedy.”

The Minister said, “I hope that this terrible event and this tragedy will contribute something to at least the understanding of the human element of the cost of hostility between our two countries.”

He said that he will inform Parliament about the incident in detail.

Conveying his condolence to 49-year-old Sarabjit’s family, Khurshid said he understood their anguish and pain. “I pray that God will give them strength to bear this loss.”

Khurshid later told reporters outside Parliament House that India will “force” Pakistan to be “more humanitarian and generous even in business”.

Asked whether the relations between India and Pakistan will be normal in the backdrop of Sarabjit death, he said “I think it is a big question that in coming days we will have to examine and see how do we work.”

“Sarabjit Singh suffered for 20 years…I can only say that it is very sad. It is obviously something that cannot now be reversed.

“But if we see this as a sacrifice, if we see this as a great loss… can this trigger a change in attitude in Pakistan? …We force Pakistan now to think… in terms which are more humanitarian and generous even for business.”

He also asked the political parties in the country to “share one voice and one sentiments” on this issue.

“I think there are some moments in which we can share one voice and one sentiment. I am sad …Even in this moment, we are not willing to share one voice and one sentiment,” Khurshid said, reacting to a question on the Opposition’s allegation that Sarabjit is a victim of “soft foreign policy.”

“I think we need to work on a creative use of language and creative use of political expression to be more meaningful,” he said. -PTI

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