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Sarabjit still critical, treatment to continue in Lahore

Appealing for Sarabjit Singh's release, India today asked Pakistan to take a 'sympathetic and humanitarian' view on the Indian death row prisoner who is battling for life after being beaten in jail in Lahore.Sarabjit will never be safe in Pak: sister

world Updated: Apr 30, 2013 00:19 IST

Appealing for Sarabjit Singh's release, India on Monday asked Pakistan to take a "sympathetic and humanitarian" view on the Indian death row prisoner who is battling for life after being beaten in jail in Lahore.

The possibility of transferring Sarabjit Singh to India for treatment could be considered in order to provide him the "best medical treatment available here", the ministry of external affairs said.

"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," it said in a statement.

According to the statement, officials of the Indian High Commission are in touch with medical authorities at Jinnah Hospital Lahore "and we would like to consider the option of transferring Sarabjit Singh to India so that he can benefit from the best medical treatment available here".

Based on the most recent medical bulletin put out by doctors treating Sarabjit Singh "it is clear that his condition remains critical. We share the anguish and concern of his family members, and our prayers will remain with them", the statement said.

Pakistani officials on Monday dismissed a report that a medical board was considering a proposal to send abroad Indian death row convict Sarabjit Singh - comatose in a Lahore hospital after a brutal assault - for treatment.

The four-member medical board headed by Jinnah Hospital chief executive Mahmood Shaukat conducted a routine examination of Sarabjit this morning, officials said.

They rejected a media report that the board was mulling a proposal to send Sarabjit abroad for treatment.

"No such proposal has been under consideration," an official of the health department of Punjab province said.

Dalbir Kaur (2L), sister of Sarabjit Singh, Singh's wife, Sukhpreet Kaur (L), and his daughters Poonam (R), and Swapandip(2R) praying at Golden temple in Amritsar. (AFP PHOTO)

"In fact, the medical board has no mandate (to decide on sending Sarabjit abroad)," said the official, who did not want to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The medical board is "minutely monitoring the patient" and Sarabjit is being given the "best treatment" at Jinnah Hospital, the official said.

Sources in the hospital said that there had been "no improvement whatsoever" in Sarabjit's condition.

The members of the medical board - Shaukat, Postgraduate Medical Institute principal Anjum Habib Vohra, Jinnah Hospital neuro department head Zafar Chaudhry and King Edward Medical University neuro-physician Naeem Kasuri - see Sarabjit's case as "major neurosurgical challenge", the sources said.

Dalbir Kaur, sister of jailed Indian spy Sarabjit Singh arrives with Singh's family members at Pakistan's Wagah border post from India. (AP Photo/KM Chaudary)

Sarabjit, 49, sustained several injuries, including a skull fracture, when six prisoners attacked him in Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday and doctors said his chances of survival are slim.

He was hit on the head with bricks and cut with sharp weapons. He is in a deep coma and on ventilator support in an intensive care unit of Jinnah Hospital.

He was convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990.

His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf.

Sarabjit Singh's sister Dalbir Kaur, wife Sukhpreet Kaur and daughters Poonam and Swapandeep Kaur with their passports while crossing the Attari/Wahga international border to meet Sarabjit Singh at Jinnah hospital, Pakistan. PTI Photo

The outgoing Pakistan People's Party-led government put off Sarabjit's execution for an indefinite period in 2008.

Sarabjit's family says he is the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state.

(With inputs from IANS, PTI)

Related stories:

Upset sister says Sarabjit will never be safe in Pakistan

Pak grants consular access to Sarabjit; condition unchanged

Chances of Sarabjit's survival "slim": doctors

India appeals to Pak to release Sarabjit Singh

Security of Pak inmates tightened in UP jails

First Published: Apr 29, 2013 12:00 IST