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Punjab govt gives freed Pak prisoner Surjeet Singh Rs 5 lakh

Having spent over 30 years of his life in Pakistani jails on spying charges, Punjab resident Surjeet Singh has been given financial assistance of Rs.500,000 by the state government.

Surjeet, who was released late last month, was given the cheque by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, a spokesperson for the Chief Minister's Office said.

Badal also assured Surjeet that his son Kulwinder would be given a regular government job based on his qualifications. Surjeet's family depends on the meagre income they get from agriculture. During the meeting at the chief minister's residence, Badal felicitated Surjeet for rendering a great service to the nation and assured him that the state government was committed to extending all possible help for the rehabilitation of his family within the legal framework.

Singh was in Pakistani jail for 30 years: PTI

Though Surjeet had languished in Pakistani jails for the cause of the nation, the union government made no efforts for his rehabilitation, Badal said. Despite the fact that he had spent his youth in jail, the union government had not bothered to help his family, he added.

Expressing gratitude to the chief minister, Surjeet said he was indebted to the state government for extending the much needed support to him and his family in their hour of crisis.

Surjeet, 69, arrived in his native village Phidde in Punjab's Ferozepur district, on 28 June after more than 30 years of incarceration in Pakistan.

He had been arrested on charges of spying. Surjeet was sentenced to death but it was later commuted to life imprisonment.

IANS