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India wants Sarabjit home, Pak turns down appeal

world Updated: Apr 30, 2013 08:38 IST
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India on Monday asked Pakistan to release Sarabjit Singh, who is in a deep coma in a Lahore hospital after a jail attack, on humanitarian grounds and shift him to India for better medical care.

Singh's sister Dalbir Kaur, who along with his wife and two daughters reached Lahore on Monday, alleged that her brother was not being properly taken care of at Jinnah Hospital.

She requested that he be sent to India or Indian doctors be called in.

"In view of the recent tragic events and present circumstances, we once again appeal to the government of Pakistan to take a sympathetic and humanitarian view of this case, and release Sarabjit Singh," external affairs ministry said in a statement in New Delhi.

Asking Pakistan to take India's request "seriously" , external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said in Moscow that "we have pulled out everything we know in diplomacy to reach out…"

However, a medical board formed by Pakistan's Punjab government held that the 49-year-old death row convict would continue to be treated in Pakistan .

At home, the BJP charged the government with not taking enough steps to ensure Singh's security.

"Sarabjit was attacked in a most barbaric fashion inside the jail and government of India ought to have taken steps to emphasise upon Pakistan authorities to give him adequate security after the hanging of Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru," spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.

India should demand that Singh be provided best medical treatment.

"If it is not available in Pakistan then some alternative arrangements should be made," the BJP leader said.

India was ready to provide all medical assistance if required, minister of state for home RPN Singh said in Delhi.

Sarabjit Singh, who remains critical, was attacked in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail on April 26.

He has a fractured skull and cuts to his face and torso. Police officials in Lahore privately told newsmen that the attack on Singh was planned, perhaps in retaliation for Ajmal Kasab's hanging.

(With inputs from Imtiaz Ahmad)