Attari: Held in Pakistan on spying charges in the early 1980s, Indian prisoner Surjeet Singh returned home after three decades on Thursday. Smiling and waving to family members, friends and supporters, Surjeet, 69, thanked Pakistani border officials as he walked across the zero line at the international border between both countries.
He may have been officially released from jail on Thursday morning but when Indian prisoner Surjeet Singh alighted from the prison van at the Wagah border on the Pakistan side, he was handcuffed and the iron chain was attached to the belt of a Pakistani police officer. The accompanying policemen got down with him but did not open the handcuffs. He had been released from the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore and reached Wagah about an hour later.
With a smile on his face, Surjeet, who had been in captivity for over 30 years, hugged his Pakistani lawyer who was waiting for him here before being taken away for completion of formalities.
“I will never return to Pakistan again,” Surjeet, who has a grey flowing beard, told reporters in Punjabi with his head and finger indicating a firm “no” gesture. “I was arrested earlier for spying charges. If I return, the security agencies might suspect that I have come for spying again,” he said.
Surjeet said prisoners on both sides of the border should be released by the respective governments.
“I was treated well by prison officials and I am thankful to them,” he said. Surjeet, who spent over 30 years in Pakistani jails after being arrested on charges of spying, walked out of jail to a battery of camera crews waiting to interview him.