Another prisoner, said to be Indian, dies in Lahore jail

New Delhi, June 28 (IANS) Another prisoner, believed to be Indian, died in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail this week but Indian authorities said Friday they were unable to “identify his nationality on two occasions” as he was “not in a mental state” to give information about himself.

The prisoner who died Thursday was identified as Zaqir Ali, as per the list forwarded by Pakistan to India at the beginning of the year, said external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin at a briefing here Friday.

India had sought counsellor access to the prisoner when an India-Pakistan Judicial Commission visited the jail earlier this year and on June 8 when officials of the Indian high commission met him.

“On both these occaisons, we were not able to get information about him from the prisoner as he was not in a mental state to articulate information about himself,” Akbaruddin said.

“Though he figures in the list provided by Pakistan to us, we were not able to identify his nationality on the two occasions.”

The official said India is trying to ascertain his identity and get details about him. When Indian authorities manage to get any information, then “we will take it forward”, he added.

Two Indian prisoners of the Lahore jail have died earlier this year — Sarabjit Singh and Chamel Singh.

Sarabjit Singh, who was on death row in Pakistan for alleged bomb attacks, died after being brutally assaulted in the jail by fellow inmates. Sarabjit had suffered serious head injuries on April 26 and had been on ventilator support. He died on May 2.

Chamel Singh died in January after being brutally assaulted in the jail.

Akbaruddin said India had received “partial autopsy reports” earlier and “have comunicated them appropriately”. India had asked for Chamel Singh’s autopsy report following allegations that he had been tortured. There had been delay by the Pakistani authorities in handing over the report, he said.

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