Amritsar/Islamabad: The distraught family of Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, comatose in a Lahore hospital after a brutal assault last week, is likely to return home on Wednesday after doctors reportedly indicated that he was "clinically dead".

Confusion prevailed over Sarabjit’s condition as the head of four-member medical board supervising Sarbajit's treatment said his condition has deteriorated while unconfirmed reports quoted the doctors as saying that he was 'brain dead'.

Raj Kumar Verka, vice chairman of the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes, said in Amritsar on Tuesday that he spoke to Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur who told him that doctors have said that Sarabjit was "brain dead".

"I think that Sarabjit had died earlier. Why did the Pakistan government have to do this drama (of allowing the family to visit him in Lahore) when he was already gone? They sought her permission to remove him from the ventilator," Verka, who was instrumental in securing visas for four members of Sarabjit's family, said.

Earlier in the day, Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur had plans to return to India to seek advice on his treatment in the wake of unconfirmed reports that doctors had declared him brain dead.

"There are unconfirmed reports that doctors have declared Sarabjit brain dead and Dalbir Kaur's return could be linked to that," Sheikh said on phone from Lahore.

Sarabjit's condition has deteriorated

Allama Iqbal Medical College principal Mahmood Shaukat, who is also the head of a four-member medical board is supervising Sarabjit's treatment, confirmed that his condition has deteriorated.

"In our latest investigation, there was no sign of improvement (in Sarabjit's condition). Rather, his condition further deteriorated," Shaukat said.

Sarabjit is in a special intensive care unit (ICU) of the state-run Jinnah Hospital. Shaukat said top neurosurgeons and physicians are providing Sarabjit the best treatment to save his life.

The doctors had changed some medications after the deterioration in his condition. A second CT scan on Sarabjit too did not reveal any signs of improvement, Shaukat said.

Sarabjit's sister to seek expert advice for treatment

In a related development, Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur on Tuesday demanded that Indian doctors should be called in to assist in his treatment.

Sarabjit's lawyer Awais Sheikh on Tuesday said Dalbir Kaur had informed him a short while ago of her intention to return to India. It was not immediately clear whether Sarabjit's wife and two daughters would also return to India, he said.

"Dalbir Kaur was asked by the local media if she had agreed to take Sarabjit off ventilator support and she said no," he said.

Sarabjit's family members had arrived in Pakistan on Sunday, two days after the 49-year-old prisoner sustained severe injuries, including a fractured skull, during a brutal assault by prisoners in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail.

He has been in a deep coma in an intensive care unit of the Jinnah Hospital and doctors have said his chances of survival are slim.

Sarabjit was convicted by a Pakistani court of alleged involvement in a string of bombings in Punjab that killed 14 people in 1990. 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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