LAHORE, March 10: The body of a Pakistani man who had died in Indian police custody allegedly because of torture was handed over to Pakistan at Wagah on Monday.

The victim’s brother Abdullah, who had gone with other family members to receive the body, told reporters that Khalid Mahmood , 26, had gone to India in 2005 to watch a cricket match.

He said Indian intelligence agencies had arrested Khalid in Mohali when he was going to the Pakistan High Commission to report that he had lost his passport.

He said the family came to know about the arrest in 2006 from a letter sent by Khalid. His mother, sister and a bother went to India and filed an appeal in a court for his release but they had to leave for home within a week because of harassment by Indian intelligence agencies, he

said. This left the family unable to follow up the case.

He said the family came to know about Khalid’s death in police custody on March 4 but he had died on Feb 12, which could be verified by an autopsy.

He said Indian security agencies had ‘severely tortured’ Khalid because they considered him a spy.

He also criticised the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi for failing to secure his brother’s release.

He said the Indian government should be ashamed of such a brutal act, especially when Pakistan had released convicted spy Kashmir Singh.

The body was brought to Lahore for autopsy and Khalid’s relatives held a demonstration. They blocked the Nila Gumbad Road, burnt an Indian flag and chanted slogans against the Indian government.

The protesters urged the government to lodge a strong protest with the Indian authorities and pay compensation to the family.

Khalid’s funeral prayers will be offered in his village Dera Islamuddin, Baseen, on Tuesday.

Agencies add: Arif Awan, a lawyer for the relatives, said Khalid had been charged with spying and involvement in terrorism but he never appeared in a court.

He said the relatives wanted an autopsy because they suspected that he had been abused in custody.

Relatives who visited Khalid in a jail in New Delhi said his nails had been pulled off, his body bore torture marks and his eyes had sunk, according to his brother Inamul Haq.

We are giving spies back to India and they are returning our people after killing them, Mr Awan said.

An official of Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi told APP that it was informed on Feb 13 about the death and a letter was written the same day to the Indian external affairs ministry seeking details and the circumstances under which he had died. The Indian government had failed to provide any information, he said.

Updated Mar 11, 2008 12:00am

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