Pak Human Rights Body Condemns Attack on Sarabjit

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan today strongly condemned the attack on Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh and urged the federal government to conduct an inquiry into the matter and punish those responsible for the incident.

"The HRCP condemns the murderous attack on Sarabjit Singh, an Indian prisoner, at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore. A prisoner is wholly dependent for his safety on the keepers of the prison and, regardless of his offence, he is entitled to due protection against violence by wardens or fellow detainees," the rights watchdog said in a statement issued here.

The organisation called on the federal and Punjab governments to hold "thorough inquiries into the latest horror story and bring all those responsible to book, and the sooner the better".

It criticised jail authorities for failing to provide adequate security to 49-year-old Sarabjit.

"The authorities should have taken special care of Sarabjit Singh since his case is well-known and the fellow prisoners' hostility towards him could have been anticipated," the statement said.

Concerned about the fallout of the incident on ties with India, HRCP said Pakistani authorities should have "realised the adverse effects on relations with India if an Indian prisoner fell victim to any foul play, to say nothing of murderous attacks on him".

The organisation pointed out that India had recently complained about the "death by torture of an Indian who was detained at Kot Lakhpat and the matter is pending clearance".

These cases revealed the "dangerous consequences of the growth of intolerance in Pakistani society, which will cause the people of this land more harm than anyone else", HRCP said.

Sources told PTI that Sarabjit was brutally assaulted by at least six prisoners within his barrack in the jail yesterday.

He was hit on the head with bricks and his neck and torso cut with blades and pieces of a ghee tin.

The sources said he was in a "deep coma" and put on ventilator after suffering a skull fracture.

Doctors will not be able to perform surgery on him till he is stabilised, the sources said.

Sarabjit was convicted for alleged 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 former President Pervez Musharraf.

The outgoing Pakistan People's Party-led government put off Sarabjit's execution for an indefinite period in 2008.

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

 

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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