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Pakistan to hand over body of Indian spy: ministry


15:47, May 02, 2013

ISLAMABAD, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that the body of Sarabjit Singh, the Indian prisoner who was injured in an attack inside jail last week and died of wounds early Thursday, will be handed over to Indian officials.

Sarabjit Singh had been severely beaten by a group of Pakistani prisoners in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore and had been admitted to a hospital, where he had been in coma.

"Indian prisoner, Sarabjit Singh, who was hospitalized on Friday April 26, following injuries sustained during a scuffle with fellow inmates, expired early this morning at Jinnah Hospital, Lahore," said the Foreign Ministry.

A Foreign Ministry statement said the prisoner, who had been in a comatose state and on a ventilator for the last few days, was being provided the best treatment available and the medical staff at Jinnah Hospital had been working round the clock since his hospitalization to save his life.

"However, despite their best efforts, they could not save him and Sarabjit Singh passed away due to cardiac arrest."

The statement said the Government of Pakistan will continue to facilitate for the early completion of all formalities and hand over the mortal remains of the prisoner to the Indian High Commission at the earliest possible.

Singh spent more than 21 years in Pakistan after being convicted of spying for India and involvement in a series of bomb blasts in 1990 in which 14 people were killed.

He was kept in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Jinnah Hospital where his family members and Indian officials visited him.

India government and Singh's family had appealed to Pakistan to release him on "humanitarian grounds."

Four of his family members had reached Pakistan on April 28 on a 15-day visa but suddenly returned home on Wednesday.

Sarbajit family had said earlier that he had received threats, also accusing the jail authorities on failing to provide him security even inside prison.

His sister Dalbir Kaur blamed the jail officials for providing inmates with rods, bricks and blades to attack her brother and demanded their removal from posts that require dealing with foreign prisoners.

The Indian government had also suggested to Pakistan to send him to a third country for treatment.

Pakistan has formed a committee to investigate the attack. There has not been an official version so far as to why Pakistani prisoners attacked the Indian convict.

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