Sarabjit slips into non-reversible coma; India seeks release

Lahore/New Delhi: India has strongly asked Pakistan to immediately release Sarabjit Singh for best available treatment after worsening of condition of the Indian prisoner, who slipped into a "non-reversible" coma at a Lahore hospital on Wednesday, saying this is not the time for invoking "legal and bureaucratic reasons".
 
India's request for releasing the 49-year-old Sarabjit comatose since Friday after he was attacked by other prisoners in Kot Lakhpat Jail was conveyed by High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal to Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani during a meeting yesterday, official sources said.
 
There had been "no significant development" since the request was made, the sources said. However, MEA sources said in New Delhi that Pakistan has agreed to India's request for consular access once a day to Sarabjit.
 
In Delhi, an External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said India was "concerned at the condition of Sarabjit Singh indicated by reports made available by doctors treating him in Jinnah Hospital" in Lahore.
 
The Indian High Commissioner had met Pakistan's Foreign Secretary and urged the Pakistan government to "immediately release (Sarabjit) on humanitarian and sympathetic grounds so that he can benefit from the best available treatment in India", the spokesperson said.
 
India has alternatively proposed that Sarabjit could be sent to a third country for proper medical treatment.
 
"This is not the time for invoking legal and bureaucratic reasons for not taking the right steps to save a human life.
 
We believe that every endeavour should be made to save his life," the spokesperson said.
 
Speaking to reporters in Gurgaon, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said he was sad over the health condition of Sarabjit. He added that India has sent a proposal to Pakistan and it is now upto Pakistani government and doctors to decide.
 
Earlier, official sources in Lahore said Sarabjit had slipped into a "non-reversible" coma and this could lead to "brain death".