A week after a lethal attack on Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh in a Lahore jail that raised concerns over safety of Indians in Pakistan prisons, an attack on a Pakistani lodged in a Jammu jail made Pakistan raise an alarm on safety of its nationals in Indian prisons.
Calling the attack on Friday of its national Sanahullah lodged in Jammu’s Kot Bhalwal prison as condemnable, Pakistan’s Foreign Office in Islamabad asked India to provide best medical treatment available to the injured. Sanahullah is now receiving treatment at PGI, Chandigarh – one of the best medicare facilities in the country. Later in the evening, Pakistani high commission officials were provided access to Sanah-ullah.
Even as it asked for a thorough investigation into the matter to punish the perpetrators of the atrocity, Pakistan stated the Jammu attack as an “obvious retaliation to the death of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh” and asked India to ensure safety of its nationals in jails.
"We would also remind the Government of India of its responsibility in ensuring the safety and security of all Pakistani prisoners lodged in Indian jails," the foreign office in Islamabad said.
The ministry of external affairs called the incident as regrettable and said the matter would be thoroughly investigated and the guilty punished.
“An advisory had been issued to strengthen security for Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails. Safety and security of prisoners in custody lies with the jail authorities and necessary action is being taken,” a ministry of external affairs spokesperson said.
Home Ministry officials rejected suggestions that Friday’s attack had anything to do with Sarabjit’s killing. Citing preliminary investigation, the home ministry said Sanah-ullah and the suspect Vinod Kumar were chatting before Kumar attacked him. “It is not a pre-meditated attack,” a home ministry official said, adding it wasn’t clear what the immediate provocation was.
The ministry however reminded Pakistan the need to revise safety measures for prisoners in each other’s jails. There are 535 Indian prisoners (including 483 fishermen) in Pakistani jails and a total of 272 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails.
“In view of the tragic events that include the killing of two Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails and the incident involving a Pakistani prisoner in a jail in Jammu today there is a need to take stock of the current measures in place to ensure the safety, security and humane treatment of Indian and Pakistani prisoners in each others jails,” MEA said.
“For this, we are proposing a meeting of the concerned authorities of both countries to study the recommendations and identify and put in place further measures to avoid such tragic incidents in future.”
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has asked all the states to step up security of the Pakistani prisoners lodged in their respective jails.