Sarabjit slips into non-reversible coma


Media Sources

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Indian national Sarabjit Singh, severely injured in a brutal assault last week, has slipped into a "non-reversible" coma and doctors in a hospital here are struggling to save his life, official sources said today.

The deterioration in Sarabjit’s condition could lead to "brain death", the sources told PTI.

His measurements on the Glasgow Coma Scale, which indicates the levels of consciousness and damage to a person’s central nervous system, had dropped to a "critical level", the sources said.

A source said Sarabjit’s heart is beating "but without brain function" because of the extensive head injuries he sustained when he was assaulted by prisoners at Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore on Friday.

Sarabjit is completely unresponsive and unable to breathe without ventilator support.

The sources said the medical board supervising Sarabjit’s treatment was not in a position to declare him brain dead without consulting his family and Pakistani authorities.

The sources further said Sarabjit could not be removed from the ventilator without his family’s consent and the approval of the Pakistani government.

Sarabjit’s wife Sukhpreet Kaur, daughters Poonam and Swapandeep Kaur and sister Dalbir Kaur, who went to Lahore on Monday to see him, returned to India today.
Yesterday, doctors treating Sarabjit at the state-run Jinnah Hospital said that his condition had further deteriorated though he had not been declared brain dead.

They said his blood pressure was being maintained with support and his chances of survival were very slim.

Sarabjit, 49, sustained several injuries, including a fractured skull, when six prisoners
attacked him in jail on Friday afternoon.

He was hit on the head with bricks and has been comatose in hospital since then.
He was convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990.

His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf.

The previous Pakistan People’s Party-led government put off Sarabjit’s execution for an indefinite period in 2008.

Sarabjit’s family says he is the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state.

Sarabjit’s family returns to India

The family of Sarabjit Singh, who is comatose in a Lahore hospital after a brutal assault last week, returned to India from Pakistan on Wednesday and said they would try to meet UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and other leaders.

Sarabjit’s wife Sukhpreet Kaur, daughters Poonam and Swapandeep Kaur and sister Dalbir Kaur crossed over into India from Lahore through land border.

The family had gone to Pakistan on a 15-day visa on Sunday, two days after Sarabjit was attacked in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail.

The condition of Sarbajit Singh, who is in a special intensive care unit of the Jinnah Hospital in Lahore, had further deteriorated on Tuesday night.

Dalbir Kaur has demanded that Indian doctors should be called in to assist in his treatment. After their return, the family said they would try to meet UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and other leaders in Delhi in this regard.

Sarabjit sustained several injuries, including a skull fracture, when six prisoners attacked him in Kot Lakhpat Jail.

He was hit on the head with bricks and his neck and torso cut with sharp weapons.

Sarabjit case: No action taken against jail authorities

Reports about the suspension of several Pakistani jail officials after the brutal assault on Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh last week have turned out to be an eyewash as authorities are yet to take action against anyone in Kot Lakhpat Jail.

Immediately after the assault on Sarabjit by other prisoners on Friday, officials had told the media that three or four prison officials, including the assistant superintendent, had been suspended.

However, official sources told PTI that not a single official of the prison has been suspended from service so far.

The caretaker government of Punjab province has only issued notices to seven Kot Lakhpat Jail officials, including Superintendent Mohsin Rafiq and Additional Superintendents Ishtiaq Ahmed Gill and Sawar Sumera, to explain why action should not be taken against them for failing to protect Sarabjit.

To the surprise of many, an inquiry into the incident by Deputy Inspector General of Police (Prisons) Malik Mubashir pinpointed several security lapses but did not fix responsibility on any one.

Punjab’s caretaker Chief Minister Najam Sethi and his administration have been tight-lipped about the incident and no formal statement on the assault has been issued by anyone in the provincial government.

Sethi has neither condemned the incident nor taken action against Inspector General of Prisons Farooq Nazir for failing to provide protection to Sarabjit though his lawyer Awais Sheikh had warned prison officials of threats to his life in the wake of the hanging in Delhi of Afzal Guru for his role in the 2001 terror attack on the Indian parliament.

After the hanging of Guru, jail officials had told the media that they had put in place "adequate measures" for the security of Sarabjit.

They even claimed they had shifted him to a special cell to avert any untoward incident.

The Punjab government’s reluctance to launch a thorough investigation into the incident has raised many eyebrows, sources said.

The government has not arranged any news briefing to brief media about the assault, the outcome of the official probe and the condition of Sarabjit.

Instead, the provincial government barred officials in the prison and state-run Jinnah Hospital, where Sarabjit has been comatose since Friday, from speaking to the media on the issue.

Sarabjit, 49, sustained several injuries, including a skull fracture, when six prisoners attacked him in Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday afternoon.
He was hit on the head with bricks and his neck and torso cut with sharp weapons.

Two death row prisoners were charged for the attack.
They reportedly told investigators that they planned to attack Sarabjit because of his alleged involvement in bombings in Lahore.

Sarabjit was convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab
province that killed 14 people in 1990.

His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf.

The outgoing Pakistan People’s Party-led government put off Sarabjit’s execution for an indefinite period in 2008.

Sarabjit’s family says he is the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state.

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