The condition of Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh continued to deteriorate on Tuesday, but doctors at Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital where he has been admitted since Friday have not declared him “brain-dead” as yet.
A section of the local media on Monday quoted unnamed hospital sources as stating that he was brain-dead.
Mahmood Shaukat, head of the medical board supervising his treatment and principal of Allama Iqbal Medical College, told reporters Sarabjit was not declared brain-dead. But he confirmed that the Indian’s condition had deteriorated. According to his family members, who visited him in the night, Sarabjit did not respond to a new line of treatment.
With the Pakistan government not yet responding to New Delhi’s appeal to allow Sarabjit to be transferred to India for treatment, his sister Dalbir Kaur demanded that Indian doctors be brought to Lahore to treat him. Even ahead of India issuing the appeal on Monday, federal Information Minister Arif Nizami had ruled out shifting him to a foreign country; stating that the best possible care was being provided to him.
Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal is scheduled to go to Lahore on Thursday to see Sarabjit. Though his family was given a 15-day visa, Sarabjit’s lawyer Awais Sheikh said all four had, as of late on Tuesday, decided to return to India on Wednesday. Dalbir Kaur was hopeful of being able to come back to Pakistan if need be. Mr. Sheikh said he would seek the Lahore High Court’s intervention in getting Indian doctors to Pakistan for his treatment.
In a related development, the joint judicial committee currently touring Pakistani prisons with Indian inmates visited the hospital to enquire about Sarabjit’s condition. They were briefed by the attending doctors but were not able to meet members of the medical board as all four are from different hospitals and medical institutions of the city.
The visit to the hospital was a break from protocol but given the circumstances, this was allowed. The committee also visited Kot Lakhpat Jail where Sarabjit was attacked. Besides enquiring into how the death row inmate could have been attacked so brutally within a prison, the committee also looked into the condition of other Indian prisoners lodged there.