LAHORE: As Indian spy Sarabjit Singh continues to battle for his life at Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital, his family is demanding that the Pakistani government allow them to take him back to India for medical treatment.
But why did he end up in the hospital in the first place? Sources told Dawn.com that Singh’s attackers cited his role as a spy and a convicted attacker as a motive behind the assault.
Singh was attacked by two fellow inmates — Amir Tanba and Mudasir — in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail on Friday afternoon when he was outside his cell for a routine walk along with other inmates also sentenced to death. Two armed jail wardens — Adnan and Safdar — were also present on the spot and tried to stop the attackers. Neither of the wardens could protect him and were themselves injured in the process. Meanwhile, Singh was brutally attacked with bricks and iron rods, which the assaulters accessed from sewerage lines under construction.
Upon finding out, the jail authorities immediately sent a security force to the trouble spot. The situation was brought under control, and an unconscious Singh was immediately taken to the jail’s hospital, from where he was transferred to Jinnah Hospital. This took almost an hour.
Significantly, it appears this attack did not come out of the blue. Singh’s lawyer, Awais Shaikh, told Dawn.com he had written a number of letters to the prison authorities, as well as high-level government officials on the complaint of his client that certain inmates were threatening him and his life was in danger. Shaikh added that these requests were not heeded, and further went on to allege that the jail authorities were themselves involved in the brutality.
Meanwhile, Singh’s family remains at his bedside. His sister, wife and two daughters were still at the hospital on Monday. Speaking to media representatives, his sister Dalbeer Kaur confirmed that her brother’s condition was still critical.
The Jinnah hospital administration, however, has remained tight-lipped on Singh’s current condition. A senior hospital source told Dawn.com that from day one (Friday), Singh has been unconscious and on a ventilator while doctors do their best to save his life.
The source, requesting anonymity, confirmed that there had been no improvement in Singh’s heath and that medically, his brain was dead while other body parts were functioning. He claimed that Singh had been hit on the head hard, a number of times, which damaged his brain.
The official added that Singh’s survival needed nothing less than a miracle and that there were even fewer chances that his memories and senses would remain in tact. He said that in such cases, patients only survive until the ventilator runs; however, the administration had not yet decided to remove the ventilator.
Investigations kick off
On the directives of the interior ministry, different investigative teams have started probes in connection with the attack. Deputy Superintendent of Police Prisons Malik Mubashir has been assigned as an inquiry officer, who is to submit a report within three days. A second team, headed by Inspector General of Police Prisons Punjab Mian Farooq Nazir has completed its inquiry and recorded the statements of both attackers, other inmates, the injured wardens and other security officials. The second team has already submitted its initial inquiry report to the Punjab home department.
Jail sources claim that the accused attackers had been trying to attack Singh for the past several days. Moreover, sources said the jail authorities’ inquiry report declared the attack as planned.
The Lahore police have also registered a case at the Kot Lakhpat police station under section 324/34 (planned attempted murder in group) under the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of Kot Lakhpat Jail Superintendent Waqar Sumra.
After lodging the case, Lahore police also started an official inquiry and got a copy of the jail authorities’ inquiry report on the matter. The police also recorded the statements of around 35 people, including both attackers, both injured wardens, other inmates and jail authorities.
Sources said both Amir Tanba and Mudasir confirmed that it was a planned attack. Quoting statements of the accused, sources said they had a grudge against Singh over his role as a spy and a convicted attacker.
The Senior Superintendent of the Police Investigation wing Lahore Abdul Rab Chaudhry, who is also heading the police investigation team on the attack on Singh, told Dawn.com that the team had recorded statements of attackers and other relevant people.
He said the police team was waiting to record the statement of the injured which would help shed light on what happened. Rab said the police team was constantly in touch with the doctors in charge of Singh’s treatment.
Responding to a query as to what the police would do if Singh does not survive to record his statement, the SSP said the accused have already confessed to their crime. Rab said in that situation, the police would take the statements of the accused as final and would submit a charge sheet in court declaring them guilty in light of their confessions as well as the statements of eye-witnesses.