Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pakistan stops consular access to Sarabjit Singh

ISLAMABAD, April 28, 2013

Comatose death row Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh\'s family members crossed into Pakistan at 12-30 p.m. on Sunday through the Wagah border crossing. They were to be taken directly to Lahore\'s Jinnah Hospital where he has been on life-support since Friday evening after being grievously injured in an attack by fellow inmates of Kot Lakhpat Jail.

Meanwhile, Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry told The Hindu that second consular access for Indian High Commission officials was being processed. Earlier, the two mission officials — who have been in Lahore since the early hours of Saturday — were denied a second visit to Singh in hospital on the premise that permission granted on Friday was only for one consular access. They last met him at 2 a.m. on Saturday soon after arrival in Lahore.

The Indian mission in Islamabad took the matter up with the Foreign Office; stating that regular access should be allowed while Singh was undergoing treatment. According to Mr. Chaudhry, the hospital has been declared a sub-jail for the duration of Singh\'s stay there. His family — wife, two daughters and sister — would be allowed to visit him and also talk to all medical staff, he added.

Media reports from Lahore suggested that arrangements may also be made within the hospital to facilitate the family\'s stay. Singh\'s lawyer, Awais Sheikh, has already expressed concern about their security while in Pakistan.

The Dawn newspaper quoted doctors attending on Singh as stating that chances of survival were slim. He has a critical bone fracture and a haematoma (a localized collection of blood outside the blood vessels) which would require surgery but the three-member medical board is waiting for his condition to stabilize before taking a call on a surgical intervention.
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