An Indian fisherman, Kishore Bhagwan, who was arrested in January, 2013 died in hospital at Landhi jail in Karachi on Tuesday. The Indian High Commission has contacted the foreign office for details. Sources said the death was confirmed but no details were given.
While jail officials were unavailable for comment, news reports said Mr. Bhagwan — one of the 55 arrested by the Maritime Security Agency in January last — escaped from prison in February, which led to the suspension of a few jail officials. He was recaptured in December after a police patrol found him loitering on the streets of Karachi. Mr. Bhagwan, who failed to produce proof of identity, told the police he was a fisherman who jumped jail and lived on the street and eat at charities. A news report published last year said Mr. Bhagwan admitted to the police that he was a drug addict and escaped prison to find drugs. Jail authorities said he died of a heart attack and denied allegations of torture. The Express Tribune quoted Inspector General of Police Sindh (Jails) Nusrat Mangan saying the Indian died of natural causes. A weak and ill Mr. Bhagwan was admitted to hospital soon after he was recaptured. He was undergoing treatment at Landhi jail when he died. A medical board is expected to conduct an autopsy under the supervision of a magistrate. The body has been kept at the Jinnah Medical Centre.
The condition of fisherman languishing in Pakistan jails is miserable. Bhikha Lakha Shiyal (35), from Garal village of Junagadh district in Gujarat, died of asthma in Malir jail, Karachi, on December 19, 2013. He was one of the fishers arrested on October 25, 2013 for entering Pakistan waters. A month after his death, the body is still lying at the Edhi Center, Sohrab Goth, Karachi. According to activist Jatin Desai, his nationality was not verified till the time of death.
Under the Agreement on Consular Access, the body has to be handed over within three months of arrest. In this case, documents were sent immediately for verification. Sources in the Indian High Commission said a response from the Pakistan side was awaited.