A 43-year-old Pakistani prisoner, who was detained for illegally crossing into Indian territory through the international border twice in the last five years, was found dead in the Amphalla district jail late on Friday night.

Resident of Pind, Sialjattan, in Pakistan’s Sialkote district, Showkat Ali was reportedly found dead by Bashir, a fellow inmate from Pakistan, a little after midnight.

According to jail Superintendent Harish Kotwal, he was found hanging from an iron rod over the bathroom ventilator.

Mr. Kotwal told the media that Showkat “appeared to have committed suicide”. Bashir told the police that he removed the noose around Showkat’s neck and offered him water before he alerted the jail authorities and a doctor, who declared him dead.

The body was taken to a medical college hospital for post mortem and other medico-legal formalities.

Sources said the body would be handed over to the Pakistani authorities immediately after the police received the findings of an inquest ordered by the Jammu district magistrate.

“Most of the exchanges in the Western Command take place through Wagah, Punjab, but Showkat’s body would most likely be returned to the Pakistani authorities through Suchetgarh. His village lies just 5 km from the zero point on the IB on the Jammu-Sialkote-Lahore Road”, an official told The Hindu.

This correspondent learned from official records that Showkat was taken into custody on December 12, 2011 when he illegally crossed into the Indian territory in Arnia sector, close to Suchetgarh.

He was booked in FIR No: 108/2011 for violation of Section 3/6 of the Indian Passport Act and Section 14 of the Foreigners Act. On December 23, 2011, he was lodged in the Amphalla Jail.

Showkat was previously caught for violation of the same laws in 2008 in the same area.

He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. On December 27, 2010, he was deported to Pakistan.