The distraught family of a comatose Sarabjit Singh was on Sunday allowed to have a glimpse of him from a distance at the hospital where he is being treated after a brutal assault in a Pakistani jail.
A senior doctor of the state-run Jinnah Hospital told PTI that Sarabjit's sister, wife and two daughters were allowed to see him through a window from outside the intensive care unit as it was "not good for the patient as well as attendants to get close to each other".
Asked if Sarabjit's relatives could have been allowed to get close to him after wearing protective clothing and masks, the doctor said: "We cannot take any chances with regard to the health of our patients. Sarabjit Singh is not in a condition that a visitor can be allowed to sit by him."
A source said the hospital's administration and authorities were cautious about 49-year-old Sarabjit's security.
"Someone cautioned the authorities that if the four ladies were allowed to enter the ICU where Sarabjit Singh has been lying in a coma, they might create a scene and cause further embarrassment for the government," the source said.
Though the government had said it would allow one of Sarabjit's family members to stay in a room within Jinnah Hospital, the four women left for a hotel on the Mall Road after visiting the ICU.
Sarabjit's relatives arrived in Pakistan through the Wagah land border crossing this afternoon after being granted visas by the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi.
Sarabjit's wife Sukhpreet Kaur appealed to Pakistani authorities to send her husband back to India for better treatment.
Sarabjit was admitted to Jinnah Hospital on Friday after he was attacked by at least six other prisoners within his barrack at Kot Lakhpat Jail.
Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur, wife Sukhpreet Kaur and daughters Swapandeep and Poonam, visited him at the hospital after arriving here today from India.
"Sarabjit Singh's face is swollen, he was beaten by iron rods... He is unconscious, in a very critical condition... I was in hospital for 10 minutes and spoke to the doctors," his sister Dalbir Kaur told NDTV.
Sources said his skull was fractured after being hit on the head with bricks and his face and torso cut with weapons fashioned from spoons and pieces of ghee tins.
Sarabjit was convicted by a Pakistani court for alleged involvement in a string of bombings in Punjab that killed 14 people in 1990.
His family says he is the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state.
Meanwhile, the two main accused in the attack on Sarabjit have told investigators that they planned to kill him to take revenge for bombings he was accused of carrying out in Lahore in 1990.
According to a preliminary report prepared by deputy inspector General of Police (Prisons) Malik Mubashir, the accused ? Amer Aftab and Mudassar, both death row prisoners ? said they hated Sarabjit because he was accused of killing many Pakistanis in bomb blasts in Lahore.
Aftab and Mudassar, however, could not offer satisfactory answers as to why they started hating Sarabjit and planned his murder only in the recent past though both had been held in Kot Lakhpat Jail for several years.
Earlier today, India sought "regular consular access" to Sarabjit after Pakistani authorities imposed restrictions on meeting him.