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Indian official needed for autopsy on Indian prisoner in Pak jail

February 15, 2013 18:43 IST

An autopsy to establish the cause of death of Indian national Chambail Singh, allegedly beaten to death by prison staff, would be carried out only when an Indian official is present to witness the procedure, Pakistani officials said on Friday. 

Singh, who was being held at Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail, died a month ago. His body has been kept at the mortuary of the Jinnah Hospital since then. 

"We have not yet received any request from the concerned authorities to carry out the autopsy of Chambail Singh," said Mudassar Hussain of the Forensic Department of Jinnah Hospital.

Kot Lakhpat Jail's Additional Superintendent Ishtiaq Ahmed told PTI that the autopsy could be undertaken only when an official of the Indian High Commission is present. 

"The home department has written to the Indian High Commission in this regard. According to the rules, the presence of an official of the embassy is mandatory during the autopsy of foreigners," he said.

The delay in performing an autopsy on Singh's body was due to the Indian authorities, Ahmed contended. 

Singh was serving a five-year sentence at Kot Lakhpat Jail after being convicted of espionage.

Officials said Singh had felt a pain in his chest while having breakfast on January 15. He was then taken to the hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead. 

Tehseen Khan, a Christian lawyer who recently completed a 42-month sentence for a fraud case, claimed Singh had died after he was beaten up by jail staff. 

Authorities have launched a judicial inquiry into the death. Magistrate Afzal Abbas has recorded the statements of 14 Indian prisoners who were in the same barrack as Singh. 

However, the magistrate is awaiting the findings of the autopsy to finalise his report. 

A total of 33 Indian prisoners are lodged in Kot Lakhpat Jail.

The records of Kot Lakhpat Jail state that Singh was arrested near the Indo-Pak border at Sialkot in 2010.

He was brought to the jail last June and was due to complete his sentence in 2015.

M Zulqernain In Lahore
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