NEW DELHI: The family of Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who is fighting for his life in the intensive care unit of Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital after being savagely beaten by two jail inmates in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail, were allowed to see him on Sunday from a distance.
Sarabjit’s wife Sukhpreet Kaur, daughters Poonam Kaur and Swapandeep Kaur and his sister Dalbir Kaur, who had been granted visa to travel to Lahore, could see Singh through a window as the doctors didn’t allow them into the intensive care unit.
“We cannot take any chances with regard to the health of our patients. Sarabjit Singh is not in a condition that a visitor can be allowed to sit by him,” agency reports quoted a doctor as saying. But the hospital authorities allowed one of the four women to stay in one of the rooms near Jinnha Hospital.
Jinnah Hospital Medical Superintendent Sheikh Ijaz briefed the family on the condition of Sarabjit Singh. His sister Dalbir Kaur thanked the Pakistani people for their support and prayers for her brother. She hoped that her brother wold get well and allowed to go back to India.
The family have given visas for 15 days. They have been put up at the Avari Hotel by the Indian High Commission.
Sarabjit, who was arrested in 1990 by Pakistan and sentenced to death for a series of bomb attacks that killed 14 people in Pakistan’s Punjab province in 1990, was rushed to hospital Friday with multiple wounds, including a severe head injury, after he was attacked by fellow inmates – named Aamir and Mudasir – with bricks. Charges of attempted murder have been slapped on the two attackers.
In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Office in Islamabad said, “Doctors and medical staff at the hospital are working round-the-clock to revive the prisoner, who remains unconscious and on a ventilator.’’
Pakistan also allowed two Indian High Commission officials consular access to Sarabjit on Saturday morning. But later, the authorities said the consular access was granted only for one visit. India has taken up the issue with higher-ups in Pakistan to allow them unhindered access.
Sarabjit Singh’s execution was postponed in 2008. Even as Pakistan maintains that he was a spy, his family says he is innocent as he crossed into Pakistan while drunk.
According to Sarabjit Singh’s lawyer Owais Sheikh, he (Sarabjit) was receiving threats after the execution of Afzal Guru on February 9 for his role in the attack on the Indian parliament in 2001. In fact, some extremist outfits had demanded his execution to revenge hanging of Guru by India.