M A I N   N E W S

Send Sarabjit to 3rd country for treatment: India to Pak
Prisoner in ‘non-reversible’ coma
Nod to daily consular access
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi/Lahore, May 1
New Delhi on Wednesday asked Pakistan to release Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh on “humanitarian and sympathetic grounds” for best available treatment hours after he was said to have slipped into a "non-reversible" coma at a Lahore hospital.

The deterioration in the 49-year-old's condition could lead to "brain death", official sources told PTI in Lahore, adding he has slipped into "non-reversible" coma. A source said Sarabjit's heart is beating "but without brain function" because of the extensive head injuries he sustained when he was assaulted by prisoners at Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore last week. Sarabjit is completely unresponsive and unable to breathe without ventilator support, it is learnt.

New Delhi also proposed that Sarabjit be sent to a third country for treatment, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said in a brief about the meeting between Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal and Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani in Islamabad this afternoon.

“This is not the time for invoking legal and bureaucratic reasons for not taking the right steps to save a human life. We believe that every endeavour should be made to save his life,’’ the spokesman said.

The Indian envoy is likely to visit Sarabjit at Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital tomorrow during his visit to the city. Pakistan has so far granted Indian High Commission officials consular access to Sarabjit twice. However, it is now learnt to have agreed to India's request for consular access once a day to Sarabjit.

Sources said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid were being regularly briefed about the condition of Sarabjit. They are understood to have instructed senior officials to ensure that all possible help was extended to Sarabjit and his family.

Sources said it was regrettable that Pakistan was not heeding to India’s request, despite Sarabjit’s worsening health.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has sought the immediate intervention of the PM for bringing back Sarabjit so that he could be provided proper treatment in India. Badal said the Foreign Minister and the Home Minister must exploit all possible diplomatic channels for bringing Sarabjit back home.





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