Lahore - In what appeared to be a tit-for-tat assault, a 52-year old Pakistani prisoner, Rana Sanaullah Haq, serving a life term in a jail in Jammu, was brutally attacked by Indian inmates on Friday.

There is outrage across Pakistan over the horrific assault on Sanaullah, as protests erupted in different parts of the country including Lahore and Sialkot to condemn the inhuman attack. Social media here are predictably buzzing with sentiments ranging from the over-sentimental to shock. The resident of Sialkot, Sanaullah, is in deep coma and battling for life in a state-run hospital in the Indian Punjab. Haq was critically injured after being attacked by an Indian prisoner, a senior official in the Foreign Office confirmed to The Nation, adding Islamabad has demanded his immediate release and repatriation.

“Neither New Delhi has so far notified family of the victim, nor the government has been officially informed by the Indian authorities,” says the official. However, Indian government on Friday night allowed consular access to the victim of murderous assault.

The Pakistan high commission in Indian has asked for repatriation of the prisoner for medical treatment on humanitarian grounds. But Indian government and even the Indian media is keeping mum over the inhuman act.

Security experts say that the tit-for-tat assault is visibly the handiwork of Indian intelligence, notorious for such aggression, to take revenge of the unintentional assault on Sarabjit Singh.

A day after Indian terrorist Sarabjit succumbed to head injuries in the Lahore’s Jinnah hospital, Sanaullah was attacked by an Indian Army soldier convicted for murder in the Kot Bhalwal jail, reports in the Indian media said. He received serious head injuries and was first rushed to the government medical college hospital in Jammu, where doctors said he had slipped into a coma, much like Sarabjit, who was attacked in a Lahore jail on April 26 and died late Thursday.

Sanaullah was later flown to Chandigarh in an air ambulance and admitted to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) Friday evening, the report said. “He has been admitted to the Intensive care Unit and his condition is critical,” Indian media quoted doctors as saying.

New Delhi claimed that Sanaullah was being tried for murder since the late 1990s for carrying out acts of militancy in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. India also said the guilty would be punished and called the attack on Sanaullah ‘regrettable’.

There is no doubt that attack on Sarabjit Singh by inmate prisoners is a condemnable incident, but the Indian response to this incident is not a responsible one, an official said.

Sarabjit Singh was a terrorist and spy arrested by Pakistani officials in 1990. He was tried and convicted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan for a series of bomb attacks in Lahore and Faisalabad that killed 14 bystanders, in 1990. After the trials in Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court of Pakistan, he was sentenced to death in 1991. Five of his mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and the President of Pakistan. Sarabjit’s wife, sister and two daughters were allowed to visit him in the hospital. India demanded to shift Sarabjit Singh to India to provide him better medical services which was declined by Pakistan as best possible medical care was being provided to him. Indian external affairs ministry has proposed a meeting of the concerned authorities from both the nuclear-armed neighbours to identify measures to “avoid such tragic incidents.”

“The matter is being investigated and the guilty will be punished, the ministry said in a statement. “Safety and security of prisoners in custody lies with the jail authorities and necessary action is being taken.”

According to a statement, there are 535 Indian prisoners, including 483 fishermen, in Pakistani jails and 272 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails.

Soon after the attack on Sarabjit Singh, Indian media, keeping in character, started a heinous campaign against Pakistan. As a matter of fact, Sarabjit Singh was a terrorist, who was found guilty of carrying out bomb blasts in Pakistan in 1990. At that time, the terms ‘terrorism’ and ‘cross-border terrorism’ were not known to the most of the world. So India is the inventor of terror sponsoring into Pakistan, political pundits say.

“The plight of Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails must be taken up at an appropriate forum to expose the real face of India as there are many examples of Pakistani prisoners who died in police custody or suffered severe physical or mental torture in Indian jails.” However, sad incidents like Sarabjit’s death must not derail the peace process between Pakistan and India. 

Interim Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso expressed his concern over the attack and called upon Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "to look into this grave issue personally and ensure that a thorough investigation is conducted into the incident and perpetrators are brought to justice". "We have also called for his evacuation to Pakistan on medical and humanitarian grounds," the statement added.