Lahore/Amritsar: With doctors in a Lahore hospital describing as "slim" the chances
of survival of badly beaten up Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit
Singh, his hapless family Sunday pleaded for help from the Indian
government, which said it would do everything it could to bring
Sarabjit's family arrived in Lahore city of Pakistan from Amritsar
Sunday afternoon to be with him. After meeting him at the Jinnah
Hospital, the family pleaded that he be allowed to be taken back
to India or any other country immediately for treatment.
"When we met him in the ICU, he was just lying there. Doctors told
us that his condition was critical. Please help us to save my
brother's life," Sarabjit's elder sister Dalbir Kaur said in
Lahore. She is accompanied by his wife Sukhpreet Kaur, and two
daughters, Swapandeep and Poonam.
"His daughters called him out 'Papa'. His wife called out to him.
But he lay there like a stone. I could not understand what to
say," said Dalbir Kaur.
"I plead to our government with folded hands. Please take him to
any country for his treatment. Don't waste time, save him. So far,
when I tried to fight for his freedom, I only got hollow
assurances," she said.
Doctors at the hospital said that Sarabjit's condition was
"critical" and "chances of his survival are slim".
India's Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur
responded later in the evening, promisonng all help.
"I think at the moment the first priority is to stabilize him. I
don't suppose you could really move him in this stage. But we can
certainly do everything we can. We have done it in the past and
the matter has been taken up at every level," Preneet Kaur told
NDTV news channel.
She said the government has always brought up the topic of
Sarabjit at every level with Pakistan to let him come home on
Sarabjit, 49, suffered critical head injuries in the assault by
four to five prisoners with bricks and prison plates in Kot
Lakhpat Jail in Lahore Friday. He has been in Pakistan prisons for
over 22 years.
"I want to know how the iron rods, bricks, cutters and other
things reached inside the prison to carry out the attack on
Sarabjit. It was a big conspiracy," Dalbir Kaur said. Sarabjit's
lawyer in Pakistan, Awais Shiekh, also alleged that Sarabjit was
attacked under a conspiracy.
"Singh was diagnosed on Saturday with 3/15 Glasgow coma scale
(GCS); that elaborates upon his critical state," one of the
doctors treating him told the Dawn.
The doctor 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.
The doctor, who was not named, told the Dawn that Sarabjit had
suffered a critical bone fracture when he was taken to the Jinnah
Hospital's surgical emergency Friday evening.
During clinical assessment, it was established that Sarabjit had
diffused brain injury over a widespread area of his head that led
Doctors said that surgical intervention cannot be carried out till
Sarabjit's condition improves.
Sarabjit is being kept in a separate intensive care unit in
unprecedented police security and no one is being allowed to see
him except doctors.
First Secretary in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad C.S.
Das visited the hospital too.
Before crossing over to Pakistan from the Attari-Wagah checkpost
on the international border, 30 km from Amritsar, Sarabjit's
family offered prayers at Harmandir Sahib, the holiest of Sikh
shrines in Amritsar, popularly known as the Golden Temple, Sunday
"We are going there with lots of hopes. We want to bring him back
hale and hearty. His condition is such that there is some fear in
our hearts. We have offered prayers to the almighty to help him
recover fast," said Dalbir Kaur.
In New Delhi, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes
summoned officials of the ministries of external affairs and home
over the issue of helping Sarabjit. It also directed the
government to send a team of specialist Indian doctors to Pakistan
for Sarabjit's treatment, commission vice chairman Raj Kumar Verka
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday accused the United
Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of failing to ensure safety
of Sarabjit and demanded that he be immediately brought back to
India for treatment.
"There has been inaction on the part of the Indian government in
Sarabjit Singh's case. Despite being given information by his
family that he might be attacked and was threatened in jail, the
Indian government remained silent and did not ensure his
security," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
A leading Pakistani daily, News International said Sunday that the
Sarabjit incident was a "sad one".
In Mumbai, the Pakistan-India Peoples' Forum for Peace and
Democracy (PIPFPD) also sought a high-level independent probe into
the attack on Sarabjit.
Sarabjit has been on death row in Pakistan since 1990 after being
convicted by Pakistani courts for bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan,
which left 14 people dead. His family claims he is innocent, and
that he crossed over to Pakistan in August 1990 in an inebriated
state, and was arrested there.