Doctors say his condition is so precarious that shifting him is not advisable

Pakistan may not insist on the repatriation of its comatose citizen, Sanaullah Ranjay, in deference to the opinion of senior doctors at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) attending on him. He was admitted to the premier institute here after being shifted from the high-security Kot Balwal prison in Jammu, where he sustained serious head injuries during an assault by fellow inmates.

The indication came from Pakistan High Commissioner Salman Bashir, who visited Sanaullah at PGIMER on Monday. The doctors expressed their helplessness “to do anything” as the brain of the prisoner had ceased to function and he was surviving because of the life support equipment.

Prognosis bleak

Mr. Bashir told journalists that “though the prognosis was very bleak,” the future course of action would be decided after Sanaullah’s family visited him. He said necessary arrangements to facilitate the visit had been initiated.

Earlier Mr. Bashir led a team of officials from the High Commission to the Advanced Trauma Centre, where they were briefed on the condition of the patient by PGIMER’s director Prof. Y.K. Chawla, medical superintendent Prof. A.K. Gupta, head of the department for neurosurgery Prof. S.N. Mathuriya and in-charge of the ward Prof. Y.K. Batra. The doctors informed them that his condition was so precarious that it was not advisable to move him.

Though Pakistan had been seeking his repatriation for treatment and on humanitarian grounds, the High Commissioner denied having received any communication from the Indian Ministry for External Affairs on this matter.

While avoiding a direct answer to questions related to the satisfaction over the treatment being provided at one of the country’s premier medical sciences facilities, Mr. Bashir said that only an “impartial and transparent” investigation could bring out the truth behind the retaliatory action to Sarabjit’s death in Pakistan and complacency and complicity on the part of the jail staff in Jammu.

Humanitarian angle

Mr. Bashir said that in a tragic way, Sanaullah’s case had demonstrated the need for India and Pakistan to address the issues of prisoners from a humanitarian angle and resolve the agony of those who had spent considerable number of years in jail.

He said that records indicated that of the 500 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails, about 50 had completed their sentences while four had lost their lives. He emphasised the need to make punishment commensurate with the gravity of the crime.

Mr. Bashir said that Sanaullah who had been arrested in 1996 for his alleged involvement in terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, was granted consular access just once in the last 10 years.

Anita Joshua reports from Peshawar

A cousin and brother-in-law of Sanaullah were issued visas late on Monday evening. Indian High Commission officials in Islamabad said their visa applications were processed expeditiously to enable the relatives to cross the Wagah border into India on Tuesday. They will then travel by road to Chandigarh.

More In: National | News