India asks Pak to release Sarabjit, punish attackers
New Delhi/Islamabad, April 29
New Delhi also asked Pakistan to consider the option of transferring the 49-year-old to India so he could benefit from the best medical treatment available here. However, Pakistan said the "best possible care" was being given to Sarabjit and there were no plans to move him.
An External Affairs Ministry statement said officials of the Indian High Commission in Pakistan were in touch with medical authorities at Jinnah Hospital where Sarabjit is in coma and undergoing treatment after he sustained several injuries, including a skull fracture, when six prisoners attacked him in jail on Friday. Dr Mahmud Shaukat, who is heading the panel of doctors, said Sarabjit’s serious head injuries were preventing them from going ahead with surgery. Doctors have said his chances of survival are slim.
“We would like to consider the option of transferring Sarabjit to India so that he can benefit from the best medical treatment available here,” New Delhi said. Soon after, a prominent hospital chain offered to provide free treatment to Sarabjit in case India manages to bring him back.
Based on the most recent medical bulletin put out by doctors treating him, it is clear that his condition remains critical, Ministry of External Affairs said, adding that it shared the anguish and concern of Sarabjit’s family members.
In a statement, the ministry 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."
The MEA reiterated the demand that the attack be thoroughly investigated to identify those responsible and to ensure that they were punished.
“It is the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan to ensure the safety and security of all prisoners in their custody.”
Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said the government would do everything it could to bring Sarabjit to India on humanitarian grounds.
Minister of State for Home RPN Singh said the government was ready to provide full medical assistance to Sarabjit. “It is our endeavour and we will do whatever is in our hands to make sure that all proper medical treatment is given to Sarabjit Singh-whether it is Pakistani doctors or medical experts from foreign countries. We are ready to provide full medical assistance, if there is a need for any assistance from our side.”
Pakistani officials dismissed a report that a medical board was considering a proposal to send Sarabjit abroad. Sarabjit, 49, is being provided the best possible care in a Lahore hospital, and there are no plans to move him, Information Minister Arif Nizami said.
The four-member medical board headed by Jinnah Hospital chief executive Mahmood Shaukat conducted a routine examination of Sarabjit on Monday morning, officials said. Sources in the hospital told PTI that there had been "no improvement whatsoever" in Sarabjit's condition.
Meanwhile, Indian officials got second consular access to Sarabjit. Four members of his family -- his wife, two daughters and sister -- are currently in Lahore and have pleaded for New Delhi’s help to bring Sarabjit back to India for treatment.
Family visits him in ICU
Sarabjit’s family members, including his wife, sister and daughters, were allowed to visit him in the ICU where they remained for nearly 40 minutes They also visited Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, and prayed for his early recovery Dr Mahmud Shaukat, who is heading the panel of doctors treating Sarabjit, said he had received serious head injuries and could not be operated upon
Sarabjit’s family members, including his wife, sister and daughters, were allowed to visit him in the ICU where they remained for nearly 40 minutes
They also visited Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, and prayed for his early recovery
Dr Mahmud Shaukat, who is heading the panel of doctors treating Sarabjit, said he had received serious head injuries and could not be operated upon