The distraught family of a comatose Sarabjit Singh was on Sunday allowed to have a glimpse of him from a distance at the hospital where he is being treated after a brutal assault in a Pakistani jail.

A senior doctor of the state-run Jinnah Hospital told PTI that Sarabjit’s sister, wife and two daughters were allowed to see him through a window from outside the intensive care unit as it was “not good for the patient as well as attendants to get close to each other.”

Asked if Sarabjit’s relatives could have been allowed to get close to him after wearing protective clothing and masks, the doctor said: “We cannot take any chances with regard to the health of our patients. Sarabjit Singh is not in a condition that a visitor can be allowed to sit by him.”

Security issues

A source said the hospital’s administration and authorities were cautious about 49-year-old Sarabjit’s security.

“Someone cautioned the authorities that if the four ladies were allowed to enter the ICU where Sarabjit Singh has been lying in a coma, they might create a scene and cause further embarrassment for the government,” the source said.

Though the government had said it would allow one of Sarabjit’s family members to stay in a room within Jinnah Hospital, the four women left for a hotel on the Mall Road after visiting the ICU.

Sarabjit’s relatives arrived in Pakistan through the Wagah land border crossing on Sunday afternoon after being granted visas by the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi.

Wife’s appeal

Sarabjit’s wife Sukhpreet Kaur appealed to Pakistani authorities to send her husband back to India for better treatment.

“Sarabjit Singh’s face is swollen, he was beaten by iron rods... He is unconscious, in a very critical condition... I was in hospital for 10 minutes and spoke to the doctors,” his sister Dalbir Kaur told NDTV.

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