LAHORE – An Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh,on death row, was assaulted and gravely wounded by his fellow captives at Kot Lakhpat Jail on Fri.
“Sarabjit was assaulted by fellow death row yardbirds Muddasar and Amir Aftab during their hour-long break. The two inmates attacked the Indian prisoner with bricks and blades, leaving him in a serious condition with critical head injuries,” a jail official, seeking anonymity told Pakistan Today.
He said that Sarabjit was immediately rushed to the Jinnah Hospital where doctors put him on a ventilator. “He (Sarabjit) is in a coma at the moment,” Dr Zafar Iqbal, head of the Neuro Surgery Department at the hospital told Pakistan Today on the phone. He said the doctors are mulling carrying out an operation on Sarabjit to save his life.
Jail sources said that the prime suspect in the attack, Amir Aftab, had quarreled with Sarabjit a few days ago but the jail authorities did not bother to take notice of the incident. The reason for the altercation could not immediately be ascertained.
Taking notice of the incident, the Punjab Inspector General of Prisons has suspended the assistant superintendent and warden of Kot Lakhpat Jail for negligence in duty while the Punjab Home Department has ordered an enquiry into the incident. Deputy Superintendent Prisons Malik Mubashir has been tasked with the investigation.
A source at the hospital told Pakistan Today that tight security measures had been enforced at the ward where Sarabjit is being treated. “Police commandos and intelligence personnel have been deployed in the ward and unauthorised persons have been barred from entering the facility,” he said.
PAKISTAN GIVES INDIA CONSULAR ACCESS:
The Foreign Affairs Ministry was quick to respond to a request by the Indian External Affairs Ministry for consular access to Sarabjit.
“We have a track record of responding to humanitarian situations. The Indian government has been granted immediate access to the injured convict,” said a Foreign Office spokesman.
Earlier, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told the Press Trust of India (PTI) that two officers had been sent to Lahore for consular access to Sarabjit.
Sarabjit’s lawyer Owais Sheikh said the incident would have “very very serious consequences”.
Last year in September, Sarabjit wrote a letter to his sister and daughters alleging that the authorities at Kot Lakhpat jail were slow-poisoning and mentally torturing him. Sarabjit had accused the jail officials of “conspiring to drive him insane” and ridiculing him when he asked them for painkillers.
According to the prosecution, Sarabjit had illegally crossed into Pakistan from Kasur on August 29, 1990.
He was arrested on charges of conducting four bomb blasts in Faisalabad, Multan and Lahore. He is named Manjeet Singh in the FIR. He was sentenced to death. His counsel claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.