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Sarabjit to be treated in Pak, India to do 'all it can' to save him


Suhasini Haidar,CNN-IBN
Apr 29, 2013 at 02:20pm IST

Lahore: While Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh's family demands that he be brought to India for treatment, a medical panel set up by the Pakistani government has ruled that he will continue to receive treatment in Pakistan. The panel says it is difficult to move Sarabjit as he has received severe head injuries. Two officials from the Indian High Commission were at the Jinnah hospital to meet his doctors.

Meanwhile as chorus grows in India for Sarabjit to be brought to India, the Indian government has said it will assure that the best medical treatment is given to him. Minister of State for Home Affairs RPN Singh said, "Our priority is to ensure that Sarabjit gets best treatment and we are ready to provide all help."

ALSO SEE 'Attack on Sarabjit may hit India-Pak ties'

Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur has also said that India will ask Pakistan to send Sarabjit back to India. "We will be monitoring the inquiry and keep expressing our concerns to Pakistan. The attack is a cause of concern, but talks must go on," Kaur said.

The government has come under attack from the Opposition over Sarabjit Singh's safety. CPI leader D Raja said, "The government should issue a statement stating how it is taking care of his health and what talks are being held with Pakistan."

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "The government did not take steps to ensure Sarabjit's safety. The immediate concern is that he must be given proper medical treatment."

His family, who is by his side, has been asking the Indian government to bring him back home for treatment after he was brutally attacked in jail. While that may or may not happen, Pakistan has relented and given consular access to him. On Sunday, his family members met him at the hospital and Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur said he was in an extremely tragic condition. "His stomach was bloated. His face was swollen up. He was beaten up so badly," she told CNN-IBN after her visit.

Pakistan on Sunday evening granted permission for consular access to Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh who was attacked by his jail inmates on Friday afternoon. In a statement, the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, "Pakistan government has provided second consular access to Indian diplomats stationed in Lahore. The family members will be able to visit Sarabjit Singh whenever they want."

Sarabjit's family is by his side praying for his recovery and asking the Indian government to bring him back home, his lawyer has said the attack on Sarabjit is part of a right wing conspiracy. "Officials must probe whether right wing extremists planned the attack. There's no point asking the Pakistani leadership to save Sarabjit now. Pakistani officials must find out how rods and bricks got into the prison," Sarabjit's lawyer Awais Sheikh said.

CNN-IBN also spoke to a neurosurgeon at the Jinnah Hospital, who is part of a team attending to Sarabjit. "He is critically ill and there are still chances of survival we are trying our best he is suffering from sever head injury. I can't say what are the chances really. We are looking at his condition from minute to minute and the next 48 hours are quite significant. His brain is swollen," the doctor said.

Meanwhile, Indian High Commission officials visited Sarabjit on Sunday in the hospital following a brutal assault, for the second time in as many days after permission was granted by Pakistani authorities following an initial denial. "The officials visited Singh in the Lahore hospital. His condition remains unchanged," a spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said.

Sarabjit was brought to the hospital after a deadly attack by his fellow jail inmates. The Pakistan government "provided second consular access to Indian diplomats presently stationed in Lahore", said a statement issued by Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.

The Indian officials were asked to coordinate with the Foreign Ministry's Deputy Chief of Protocol, Camp Office Lahore and the medical superintendent of Jinnah Hospital for consular arrangements, Chaudhry said.

(With additional information from PTI)

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