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'Dead Pakistani had sensitive documents'

India claims that Khalid Mehmood, a Pakistani who was arrested in India on the suspicion of being a spy, carried 'sensitive documents'.
Reuters | By HT Correspondent, Islamabad
UPDATED ON MAR 13, 2008 08:50 PM IST

A Pakistani who went to India to watch a cricket match in 2005 but was later arrested and died in an Indian prison was found with "sensitive documents" and was not tortured, India said on Thursday.

Pakistan said on Wednesday it had asked India to explain why the man, Khalid Mehmood, was arrested and died in "mysterious circumstances" in an Indian prison on Feb 12.

Nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan have improved their relations after nearly going to war for a fourth time in 2002 but they are still deeply suspicious of each other.

Mehmood's body was sent back to Pakistan on Monday and one of his brothers told Reuters that Mehmood has lost his passport while in India for the cricket match and was later arrested and accused of being a spy.

Indian authorities had not informed the family of how Mehmood had died but his body bore signs of torture, the brother said.

India's High Commission in Islamabad said in a statement Mehmood was arrested on May 17, 2006, more than a year after his four-day cricket visa had expired.

"Sensitive documents were recovered from Mr Mehmood's possession, which he was carrying to Delhi to deliver to some persons who were travelling to Pakistan," the High Commission said. It did not elaborate on the nature of the documents.

Mehmood developed an abdominal complaint and had been transferred to a top hospital for treatment but died, the High Commission said.

"It is emphasised that no torture was inflicted upon Mr Mehmood while he was a pre-trial prisoner," it said.

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