Hours before New Delhi formally appealed to Pakistan to transfer the Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh to India for treatment, Islamabad said there were no plans to shift him and that he was getting the “best possible care’’ in Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital.
Sarabjit is in deep coma after being assaulted in a Lahore jail by co-inmates.
Meanwhile, Dawn.com quoted an unnamed hospital source as saying that Sarabjit was “brain dead.” Members of his family — who reached Lahore on Sunday — have been allowed to meet him whenever they want. For the first time, some television channels showed grainy footage of Sarabjit on life-support in the hospital.
Also, according to Dawn.com report, the brutal attack on Sarabjit inside Kot Lakhpat Jail was planned. He was attacked with bricks and iron rods that the inmates pulled out from under-construction sewerage lines. Two wardens who tried to stop them were also injured.
The clarification on the possibility of shifting Sarabjit came in the wake of television reports suggesting that he could be moved to a hospital overseas. But both the federal administration and the provincial government ruled out the possibility.
In the case of the federal government, the clarification was made by Information Minister Arif Nizami. Speaking to journalists here, he said that “the best possible care is being provided to Sarabjit’’ and that there were no plans to shift him.
However, there was no official word from the Foreign Office on India’s appeal. With parallels being drawn to the case of teenager Malala Yousafzai — who was shifted to a hospital in the U.K. after being shot in the head by the Taliban — officials pointed out that the two cases were poles apart. Sarabjit was a death row prisoner and shifting him out of the country — even to a place other than India — involved legal issues.
With the consular access issue resolved, Pakistan claimed that the full time access allowed to the two Indian officials stationed in Lahore since Friday was “unprecedented.”