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Pakistan stops consular access to wounded Indian spy

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

Pakistan on Sunday denied consular access to an Indian national on death row who is fighting for his life after being attacked by fellow prisoners, Indian government officials told AFP in New Delhi.

Sarabjit Singh, who was sentenced to death 16 years ago on espionage charges by a Pakistani court, was rushed to hospital on Friday with multiple wounds, including a severe head injury, after an argument in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail.

Singh is in a critical condition in the intensive care unit of Jinnah hospital in Lahore following the attack in which he was hit with bricks and other blunt objects.

A senior official in Delhi said diplomats from the high commission in Islamabad were not allowed to visit Singh and also complained about a lack of information on the prisoner's condition.

The official said the Indian foreign ministry was making "every possible attempt" to get information about Singh's health and using every "diplomatic mechanism to get an update about the situation".

"It is crucial for us to know about Singh's health and Pakistan cannot deny information to India," said another government official in New Delhi.

But the Pakistan foreign ministry said late Sunday that Indian diplomats in Lahore had been given access to Singh for a second time, following an earlier meeting late on Friday.

Singh's wife, two daughters and sister visited him on Sunday, a ministry statement and a senior doctor at the hospital said.

"He was still in a coma and his condition was critical," the doctor said.

On arrival in Pakistan, Singh's sister Dalbir Kaur thanked the Pakistani people for their prayers for her brother's recovery and hoped that he would get well soon and be allowed to return to India.

Singh's lawyer, Owais Sheikh, earlier told AFP that his client had received threats following the execution of a Kashmiri separatist in India. Mohammed Afzal Guru was hanged in New Delhi on February 9 for his part in a deadly Islamist attack on the Indian parliament in 2001.

Singh, 49, was convicted over a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province in Pakistan which killed 14 people in 1990. His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former president Pervez Musharraf.

His family says he is a victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130428/pakistan-stops-consular-access-wounded-indian-spy-1