LAHORE: The condition of Sarabjit Singh, the convicted Indian spy who was injured in an attack on Friday, was serious, said his doctors on Saturday.
According to them, his chances of survival are slim. He has been intubated and linked to the ventilator in the intensive care unit of Jinnah Hospital.
Singh suffered serious head injuries when two fellow inmates attacked him in the Kot Lakhpat jail on Friday.
His wife Sukhbir Kaur, sister Dalbir Kaur and two daughters will arrive in Lahore on Sunday (today) after grant of visa by Pakistani government.
One of the doctors treating him told Dawn: “Singh was diagnosed on Saturday with 3/15 glasow coma scale (GCS); that elaborates upon his critical state of conscious level.” He said the GCS was a neurological scale aimed at assessing level of consciousness after profound head injury and the reading of 3/15 indicated deep unconsciousness.
With the level of his deep unconsciousness, Singh’s treatment had turned out to be a major neurosurgical challenge for the medical board constituted by the authorities, said the doctor.
Senior neurosurgeon and principal of Post-Graduate Medical Institute, Prof Dr Anjum Habib Vohra; head of Jinnah Hospital’s neuro department, Prof Dr Zafar Chaudhry; and neuro physician of King Edward Medical University, Prof Dr Naeem Kasuri, are members of the medical board.
The doctor said Singh had suffered a critical bone fracture when he was taken to Jinnah Hospital’s surgical emergency on Friday evening.
During clinical assessment, he added, it was established that Singh had diffused brain injury over a widespread area of his head that led to unconsciousness.
Doctors also discovered a haematoma (a localised collection of blood outside the blood vessels) which was greater than 3cm which indicated that the patient was in dire need of surgical intervention.
The medical board examined the patient twice on Saturday and doctors were of the view that there was no need for surgical intervention at this stage.
Singh is in a separate intensive care unit in unprecedented police security and no one is allowed to see him except doctors.
However, first secretary to Indian High Commissioner C. S. Das paid a visit to him in the hospital.
INQUIRY REPORT: Punjab prison authorities submitted to the provincial government on Saturday a preliminary inquiry report about the attack on Singh, saying security lapse was its main cause.
Police have formally opened an investigation into the attack after getting permission from a local magistrate to interrogate two nominated prisoners who attacked Singh in his barracks.
The attack on Singh with blunt weapons in or outside his barracks left many questions unanswered: how the suspects managed to bring bricks and a pipe amid tight security to a special barracks accommodating condemned prisoners; why jail officials allowed the suspects to get close to Singh if both sides had an argument in past and why officials failed to secure Singh in time.
A source in the prisons department confided to this reporter that one of the alleged prisoners told the inquiry officers that he attacked Singh in a ‘national grudge’.
He said the other prisoner told the inquiry team that Singh was a murderer of several innocent Pakistanis and an enemy of Pakistan and it was painful for him to bear Singh even in jail.
The source claimed that neither Singh had complained to jail officials about any issue with any prisoner nor any prisoner had spoken against Singh in past 23 years or so.
He said the report submitted to the government held four officials, including the assistant superintendent of jail, responsible of security lapse as they violated lock-up protocols.
According to jail manual, the source said, prisoner(s) of only one cell in a block (several cells) of condemned prisoners were allowed to take a stroll between 2pm and 4pm in one go, adding jail officials either forgot to lock Singh’s cell or of cells of condemned prisoners Aamir Tanba and Mudassir who got a chance to either come out of their cells and attack Singh with a brick.
The source said another Indian prisoner Karpal Singh who lived in the cell adjacent to Singh’s was not touched by the suspects.
Deputy Inspector General Investigation Zulfiqar Hameed told Dawn that the Kot Lakhpat investigation police had obtained permission from a local magistrate to record statements of suspects, jail officials as well as witnesses.
He said police would visit the jail after getting nod from authorities concerned.
The DIG said police were still unable to get Singh’s statement who was still on a ventilator at Jinnah Hospital.
He said prisons officers had not yet shared outcome of their preliminary inquiry with police.
The Punjab’s IG Prisons, Mian Farooq Nazeer, and other senior officers remained in the jail at least for six hours to probe circumstances which led to the attack and negligence on the part of officials.
Officers interrogated the accused and suspended jail officials and recorded statements of witnesses.
Singh’s counsel, Awais Sheikh, said he had not been allowed by doctors and police to see Singh in the hospital.
He said during a meeting a few months ago Singh expressed the fear that a couple of prisoners had threatened him of dire consequences and that he needed security.