Islamabad/Lahore: Indian national Sarabjit Singh, currently on death row in a Lahore jail, is in a 'deep coma' and has been put on ventilator support after being assaulted by a group of prisoners in a Pakistani jail.

Sarabjit was admitted to state-run Jinnah Hospital in Lahore, where he was admitted on Friday after being brutally beaten by at least six other prisoners within his barrack at the Kot Lakhpat Jail.

Doctors on Saturday said that they will not be able to perform surgery on Sarabjit till his condition stabilises.

Medical board constituted to treat Sarabjit

A medical board has been constituted to treat Sarabjit, who was admitted to the ICU of Lahore's Jinnah Hospital after a murderous attack.  "A high-powered medical board has been constituted to treat the patient," Allama Iqbal Medical College Principal Mahmood Shaukat said.

READ MORE: Sarabjit faced similar attack before?

The board includes neurosurgeon Anjum Habib Vohra, neuro-physician Naeem Kasuri and Zafar Chaudhry. Shaukat said Sarabjit's condition was critical. Sarabjit suffered critical head injuries in the assault. He was attacked by 4-5 prisoners with bricks and plates.

Next 24 hours critical

Pakistani TV news channels quoted their sources as saying that next 24 hours would be crucial for Sarabjit.

A separate room has been temporarily converted into the ICU for Sarabjit's exclusive treatment. Due to his deteriorating condition, a tube had been placed into the windpipe to help him breathe.

READ MORE: Sarabjit’s family wants to be with him

The sources quoted doctors at Jinnah Hospital as saying that Sarabjit's condition was measured as 5 on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), which indicates the level of damage or
injury to a person's central nervous system.

The GCS comprises tests of eye, verbal and motor responses. The three separate values and their sum are considered in deciding a person's status. The lowest possible GCS score is 3 while the highest is 15.

Indian officials visit Jinnah Hospital

Two Indian High Commission officials got consular access to Sarabjit Singh in the ICU of Jinnah Hospital on Saturday morning.

"The officials of India's High Commission in Islamabad obtained access to Sarabjit in the ICU of Jinnah hospital, Lahore at 2:00 am," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said.

"Doctors attending to Sarabjit Singh informed the Indian officials that he is in coma on ventilator and receiving IV drip," he said.

The Indian mission had contacted Pakistan's Foreign Office on Friday night to seek consular access.

The two Indian officials went to the hospital and spent some time with Sarabjit. They then drove away from the hospital without speaking to the media. Security has been beefed up at the hospital, where dozens of police commandos have been deployed.

Indian High Commission officials were in regular contact with the Medical Board attending to Sarabjit.

Sarabjit attacked with bricks

Earlier, sources said that Sarabjit was attacked by at least six other prisoners within his barrack in one of the most secure sections of Kot Lakhpat Jail. He was hit on the head with bricks and his face, neck, and torso were cut with blade and pieces of a ghee tin.

Sarabjit was initially taken to the hospital within the prison. When his condition worsened, he was moved in an ambulance to Jinnah Hospital.

However, a murder case has been registered against two prisoners – Amer Aftab and Mudassar. Sources said Aftab, who was on death row after being convicted of murder, had quarrelled with Sarabjit and attempted to attack him some days ago.

The assault on Sarabjit comes a few months after the death of Indian prisoner Chamel Singh in the same Kot Lakhpat jail after he was allegedly assaulted by jail staff.

Sarabjit was convicted for 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 Peoples 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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