M A I N   N E W S

Surjeet: I sent back vital Pak info, but got nothing in return
Anirudh Gupta/TNS

Phidde (Ferozepur), June 29
In the dark world of espionage, Surjeet Singh (‘Anwar’ in Pakistan) became a bad penny — caught and disowned. So he thinks on hindsight. Patriotism then came at a price: a paltry sum of Rs 300 per month.

“Mere jinna kamm kisse ne ni kita hona ehna layi (no else would have worked for them as much as I did), he says, recounting what he went through after he was “recruited as an Indian agent” in Pakistan.

His story, told a day after his return home from Pakistan, spans well over three decades. In the early eighties, Pakistan was under martial law. Surjeet says he made “countless forays” into enemy territory, sending back “vital information” to his Indian handlers.

“That was the time when the lighthearted village youth in me became an unofficial spy,” he says. The cost of getting caught he was to realise soon: years of torture at the hands of Pakistani agencies before being awarded the death sentence in 1985.

A small solace came only in 1989 when then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan commuted the death sentence to life term. “Before I joined espionage, I had an inspector friend in the BSF. He introduced me to some Military Liaison Unit officers, who inducted me into spying,” recalls Surjeet.

Soon after he reached Pakistan, his task was cut out: get a fake ID proof, passport and a driver’s licence in the name of Anwar. “I made friends with Patras Masih, Ejaj Gill, George Masih and many others in the Pakistan Army Clerical Unit. I even stayed with them in Gulmarg area of Lahore Cantonment,” says Surjeet.

He was “ditched” by a clerk, presumably a double agent, in February 1982. He was then interrogated for three years by Pakistan’s Field Intelligence unit in Lahore.

Known as Bapu-ji in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail, Surjeet fondly talks about his two friends Malik Riasat and Amir Rao (both convicted in murder cases) who helped him during his imprisonment.

Surjeet says many Indian POWs are not lodged in jails. “They must have been put up in some quarter guard or a fort, a fact Pakistan will never admit nor will it ever allow anyone to access them. On the verge of starting a fresh life, Surjeet wants government to help him pick up the threads of his life and provide a job to his son.

Missing officers’ kin contact Surjeet Relatives of missing Indian officers and men are contacting Surjeet to know the whereabouts of their dear ones. U K Sharma is one such civilian. His brother, Capt A K Sharma was posted in Aknoor. He has been missing since 1996 after his boat submerged in Mannavar Tavi along the border. “I want to show my brother’s photo to him (Surjeet). He may have seen my brother there,” he said.





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