Pakistan High Commission has granted visa to four members of Sarabjit's family

Within a day of a murderous assault on him in the Kot Lakhpat prison of Lahore, the Pakistan High Commission on Saturday granted visa to four members of the family of Sarabjit Singh, who has been on the death row after being convicted for his involvement in bomb blasts in 1990.

Sarabjit Singh's elder sister, Dalbir Kaur, who has been spearheading a campaign for his release, told reporters at their residence in Amritsar that she, along with the Indian prisoner's wife Sukhpreet Kaur and daughters Swapandeep Kaur and Poonam, would leave for Lahore by road through the Attari-Wagah border on Sunday.

While the vice-chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Raj Kumar Verka, had personally taken their passports to the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi, a functionary from the office of the Minister of State for External Affairs, Preneet Kaur informed the family that the visa has been granted.

Ms Kaur had been approaching various authorities for permission to travel to Pakistan. She said her brother did not receive proper treatment after the attack. She said Sarabjit's lawyer, Awais Sheikh, had informed them over the telephone about the gravity of the situation, and demanded that her brother be shifted immediately to a better equipped hospital.

Ms Kaur alleged that the attack on Sarabjit was part of a conspiracy by those who did not want to allow him to return home alive. She claimed that Sarabjit had written to them about the threats he had been receiving after the hanging of Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru. She said that though she had forwarded Sarabjit Singh's letters to the Union Home Ministry, the matter was not taken up seriously. She also reminded that on a previous occasion, Sarabjit had conveyed the mental torture he had been subjected to by the jail authorities as well as a conspiracy to kill him through slow poisoning.

Sarabjit's elder daughter, Swapandeep Kaur said the family was all packed to leave for Lahore on Sunday, when she may get an opportunity to meet her father. Had the Indian and Pakistan authorities responded more seriously, her father would not have been struggling for his life.

Though Sarabjit has been on death row after the courts convicted him for the serial blasts on Pakistan's Punjab province in 1990, the family has been pleading that it was case of mistaken identity. Different courts and former Pakistan president, Pervez Musharraf had rejected his mercy petitions.