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assault by Inmates 
Sarabjit attacked in Pak jail; critical
Afzal Khan in Islamabad

Sarabjit Singh, currently on death row in Lahoreís Kot Lakhpat Jail, today suffered serious head injuries and was admitted to a hospital after he was attacked by two prisoners.

Sarabjit, whose execution has been put off a number of times despite rejection of his mercy pleas, was kept in a death cell. He was brought out of the cell for a routine afternoon walk with other inmates of the same cell.

Sarabjit had an argument with two inmates identified as Mudassar and Amer following which they came to blows and one of them hit him with a can on the head.

He was first taken to the jail hospital in a serious condition, but later shifted to the state-run Jinnah Hospital.

Doctors said every effort is being made to save Sarabjitís life. Sarabjit is in the intensive care unit, said Indian and Pakistani officials. A CT scan was performed on Sarabjit and doctors were scheduled to perform a surgery, official sources said.

"Sarabjit Singh suffered a serious head injury and we are going to operate on him to save his life," a senior doctor said.

The superintendent and assistant superintendent of Kot Lakhpat Jail and personnel deputed to guard Sarabjit were suspended after the incident, TV channels reported.

Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry told the media that officials of Kot Lakhpat Jail were probing the incident. He said the Foreign Office was examining a request from the Indian High Commission seeking consular access to Sarabjit.

Officials of Kot Lakhpat Jail refused to speak to the media, saying they were not authorised to comment on the matter. Journalists were barred from approaching the ward in which Sarabjit was being treated in Jinnah Hospital. Police commandos and intelligence operatives were deployed to guard the ward.

Meanwhile, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said in Kazakhstan, where he is accompanying External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, that India has sought consular access and two officers have been sent to Lahore. "India has contacted Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pakistan for ascertaining the facts. Two officers have been sent to Lahore for consular access and we are awaiting response. We are in touch with the Foreign Ministry and the Presidency," Akbaruddin said.

The Kot Lakhpat jail currently has some 17,000 prisoners though its official capacity is only 4,000. There have been instances in the past of prisoners being attacked and even killed within the prison. Authorities had tightened Sarabjit's security after the recent execution in India of Afzal Guru, who was convicted of involvement in the 2001 terror attack on Indian Parliament.

Sarabjit was convicted for alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 persons in 1990.

 

  • Sarabjit (in pic), whose execution has been put off a number of times despite rejection of his mercy pleas, was kept in a death cell
  • He was brought out of cell for an afternoon walk with other inmates of the same cell
  • Sarabjit had an argument with two inmates identified as Mudassar and Amer. They attacked him and one of them hit him with a can on the head
  • Sarabjit was admitted to the intensive care unit of the state-run Jinnah Hospital. A CT scan was performed on Sarabjit and doctors were scheduled to perform a surgery

(With PTI inputs) 

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