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HindustanTimes Tue,22 Jul 2014

Sarabjit still unconscious; 2 retired Indian judges to visit Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore

Agencies  Islamabad/New Delhi, April 28, 2013
First Published: 08:54 IST(28/4/2013) | Last Updated: 09:33 IST(28/4/2013)

Pakistan's foreign ministry has said that doctors are working hard to revive Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who remains unconscious on a ventilator after an attack in prison.

It said that the home department of Punjab and jail authorities are investigating the matter.

The ministry said it has also instructed its High Commission in New Delhi to facilitate provision of visas to family members of Sarabjit Singh who may wish to visit him during his hospitalization, a statement said. (Four visas have been granted to Sarabjit's family members, who will be leaving for Lahore via the Attari checkpost on Sunday.)

"On hearing of the incident and in view of its humanitarian nature, the government of Pakistan provided timely consular access and permitted two officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to travel to Lahore and visit the prisoner late last (Friday) night," it said.

The statement said the medical staff of the Jinnah Hospital, where he is getting treatment, as well as officials of the provincial government present there were forthcoming in providing all assistance to the Indian High Commission officials and updated them on the medical condition of Sarabjit Singh.

Giving a brief details of the incident, the foreign ministry said that Sarabjit suffered head injuries which rendered him unconscious as a result of a scuffle between prisoners at the Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore.

"He was immediately evacuated to Jinnah Hospital, Lahore, where he was provided emergency medical assistance."

The statement said that the doctors and medical staff at the hospital are working around the clock to revive the prisoner who remains unconscious.

Sarabjit Singh, convicted for alleged involvement in a series of bomb attacks that killed 14 people in 1990, was in a death cell in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.

A group of Pakistani prisoners attacked him with bricks, tin and iron rods when he was walking in the premises of the prison, jail sources said.


Family to leave to Pak  today

Four members of Sarabjit Singh's family will travel to Pakistan on Sunday to meet the death row convict who is battling for life in Lahore after being brutally assaulted by jail inmates.

The Pakistan High Commission in Delhi has issued 15 days 'gratis visa' to Sarabjit's wife Sukhpreet Kaur, daughters Poonam, Swapandeep Kaur and his sister Dalbir Kaur to meet the Indian prisoner who is in "deep coma" and put on ventilator support.

Meanwhile, local MLA and National Commission of Scheduled Castes vice chairman Raj Kumar Verka, who personally secured the visas of the four family members, said, "Pakistan have assured to extend the visas by another 15 days."

He said the Pakistan High Commission has assured that adequate security would be provided to the family members from the moment they reach Wagah border on Pakistan side through Attari.

"The family would be provided vehicles with heavy security to facilitate them to reach hospital where Sarabjit is undergoing treatment," Verka said.

With tears in her eyes, Dalbir Kaur said the family is constantly praying to Almighty so that Sarabjit could be repatriated to India alive.


2 retd Indian judges to visit Lahore jail

Two retired Indian judges, part of a joint India-Pakistan panel looking after each other's prisoners' condition, will soon visit a Lahore jail where death-row prisoner Sarabjit Singh was seriously injured following an attack by prison inmates.

Retired Justices KS Gill and MA Khan and their Pakistani counterparts, all members of India-Pakistan Joint Judicial Committee of Prisoners, had visited the Karachi jail on Saturday as part of an exercise to meet Indian prisoners, see their conditions and prison records and whether their release could be expedited.

A senior home ministry official told PTI that the panel is scheduled to visit Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail within a day or two to see the conditions of Indian inmates. The retired jurists will also visit the Rawalpindi jail.

Sarabjit was lodged in Kot Lakhpat jail till Friday. He has been undergoing treatment at Jinnah Hospital since the attack on Friday.

India-Pakistan Joint Judicial Committee of Prisoners had visited Tihar, Jaipur and Amritsar jails in the past to meet the Pakistani inmates. The Committee was formed in January 2007 as part of an agreement between the two countries.

Every year, hundreds of citizens, including fishermen, are arrested and imprisoned for straying across territorial waters and land borders.


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