India seeks to move Sarabjit Singh home for treatment

Sarabjit SinghActivists of Shiv Sena and Dogra Front shout slogans against Pakistan demanding proper treatment of Sarabjit Singh, who was brutally attacked in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Pakistan recently, during a protest in Jammu. (PTI)

With Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh's condition remaining critical, New Delhi proposed for the first time Monday that he be shifted out of Pakistan to India to get the best medical treatment.

The Indian High Commission in Islamabad made this proposal to the Pakistani government to be considered as one of the options, as Singh battles for life in Lahore's Jinnah hospital. Two Indian diplomats, currently stationed in Lahore, have also conveyed this to the hospital's medical superintendent.

A Ministry of External Affairs statement said the Indian mission is in touch with medical authorities in Lahore and "we would like them to consider the option of transferring Sarabjit Singh to India so that he can benefit from the best medical treatment available here".

Citing humanitarian grounds, New Delhi also asked Islamabad to release Singh, who has been grievously injured after being brutally assaulted by jail inmates in Lahore, and demanded a through investigation into the attack to ensure punishment to the guilty.

"In view of the recent tragic events and present circumstances, we once again appeal to the Government of Pakistan to take a sympathetic and humanitarian view of this case, and release Sarabjit Singh," the MEA statement said.

Based on the most recent medical bulletin put out by doctors treating him, it is clear that his condition remains critical, it said, adding that it "shares the anguish and concern of his family members, and our prayers will remain with them".

The MEA also noted that "it is the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan to ensure the safety and security of all Indian prisoners in their custody."

Singh sustained several injuries, including a skull fracture, when six prisoners attacked him in Kot Lakhpat jail Friday and doctors say his chances of survival are slim.

Singh was convicted of involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990. His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and then President Pervez Musharraf. The Pakistan People's Party-led government put off Sarabjit's execution for an indefinite period in 2008.

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