Sarabjit's family meets him at Lahore hospital

Last Updated: Sun, Apr 28, 2013 13:35 hrs

The family of Indian death row prisoner in Pakistan, Sarabjit Singh, on Sunday reached Lahore and met him in a state-run hospital where he is in a state of coma from a murderous attack on him inside the jail he was lodged, even as Pakistan authorities stopped consular access of India to the man whose incarceration in the neighbouring country has been a long debated issue.

The journey of Sarabjit's two daughters, wife and sister to meet the Indian prisoner in Pakistan was significant since it was after more than two decades that they could see him but in a condition they had never wanted. Sarabjit is fighting for his life after being attacked lethally.

While the family, which reached Lahore via Wagah border, could meet Sarabjit at Jinnah Hospital, Pakistan on Sunday denied India consular access to the prisoner.

The Pakistan government earlier allowed Indian high commission officials to visit Sarabjit following the attack on him and his shifting to the Jinnah Hospital.

But later Pakistan said it was only a one time access even as India reportedly lodged protest and sought regular access to the Indian prisoner.

The Pakistan High Commission on Saturday granted visa to four members of Sarabjit's family to visit him.

Sarabjit's lawyer Awais Sheikh earlier said his condition is critical. "He is in coma and is critical. 60 per cent of his brain is damaged... his backbone is broken," said Sheikh speaking to an Indian TV channel.

Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur said the attack on Sarabjit was a 'conspiracy'.

She said it was a pre-planned attack amid reports that Sarabjit was facing threats since the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in India.

His daughter Swapandeep Kaur, who also believe Sarabjit was attacked under a conspiracy, agreed with her aunt.

"I think was a planned attack to kill him," said Swapandeep Kaur who would meet her father in tragic circumstances after 23 years.

She said she hoped her father gained consciousness before they reached Lahore and they could talk to him.

"We are praying to god for his life and improvement," she said ahead of leaving. The family also offered prayer at the Golden Temple in Amritsar ahead of their visit to Pakistan.

Earlier she blamed both the governments in India and Pakistan for not heeding to their fears that Sarabjit will be attacked after the hanging of Afzal Guru.

Sarabjit's family members had been for long appealing to the Pakistan government for his freedom.

According to Pakistan media earlier, Sarabjit, who is imprisoned at the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore, was attacked on Friday by fellow inmates who are also on death row.

Sarabjit has been languishing in Pakistani jail for over 20 years after a Pakistani anti-terrorist court awarded him the death sentence in 1991.

He had been convicted of involvement in a string of bombings in Punjab in 1990 that killed 14 people.

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