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India seeks regular consular access to Sarabjit Singh

By Rezaul H Laskar
April 28, 2013 15:09 IST
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India on Sunday sought "regular consular access" to death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who is in a coma in a Lahore hospital following a brutal assault, after Pakistani authorities imposed restrictions on meeting him.

"Indian officials were given access to Sarabjit Singh only once. Thereafter, there has been no access to Sarabjit Singh," an official of the Indian High Commission told PTI.

"The matter has been taken up with the Pakistani side and the foreign office has been requested to give us regular consular access to Sarabjit Singh," said the official.

Two officials of the Indian High Commission were allowed to visit Sarabjit, who is in an intensive care unit in Lahore's JinnahHospital, only for a few minutes early on Saturday.

Subsequently, the Pakistani side informed the Indians that the consular access granted on Friday was meant for only one visit, sources told PTI.

The Indian side then took up the issue with their Pakistani counterparts, saying that Indian officials should be allowed unhindered access to Sarabjit in view of his condition, the sources said.

Talks were going on between the two sides on this issue.

Sarabjit, 49, was admitted to JinnahHospital on Friday after he was attacked by at least six other prisoners within his barrack at Kot Lakhpat Jail.

Sources said he was hit on the head with bricks and his face and torso cut with weapons fashioned from spoons and pieces of ghee tins.

The Indian national was convicted by a Pakistani court for alleged involvement in a string of bombing in Punjab that killed 14 people in 1990.

Sarabjit’s family says he is the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad