Pakistan officials visit 'critically' hurt prisoner in India

Pakistani embassy officials visited a hospital in north India on Saturday where a Pakistani prisoner was in critical condition in the intensive care unit after being attacked by an Indian inmate.

Convicted murderer Sanaullah Ranjay suffered multiple head injuries in a prison in India's northern city of Jammu in an apparent tit-for-tat attack after an Indian prisoner, Sarabjit Singh, was fatally assaulted in Pakistan.

On Friday, Ranjay was airlifted to a government hospital in the city of Chandigarh, 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of New Delhi.

A spokeswoman for the government hospital said Ranjay was in the intensive care unit and on a ventilator as his condition "continues to remain critical".

The Pakistani High Commission (embassy) officials "came to the hospital and we have given them Ranjay's medical update", added Manju Wadwalkar, the spokeswoman of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research Hospital.

Ranjay, who hails from the city of Sialkot in Pakistan, was attacked by a prisoner who was identified as a former Indian army soldier nearly 24 hours after Singh's death in Lahore.

Singh died on Thursday in Pakistan and was cremated with state honours on Friday in his native village in northwestern India where hundreds of protesters shouted "Down with Pakistan!" as they gathered to pay their tributes.

Singh had been on death row after being convicted by a Pakistani court 16 years earlier for espionage and for his alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Pakistan that killed 14 people in 1990.

His family insisted he was a farmer who became a victim of mistaken identity after inadvertently straying across the border while drunk. India's government also denied he was a spy.

India's foreign ministry said Pakistan High Commission officials had been given daily access to Ranjay.

Pakistan's foreign ministry said earlier in the week in a statement that the "obvious retaliation to the death of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh is condemnable".

The prison violence could aggravate tensions between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, whose relations were hit by a border flare-up earlier this year that undermined efforts to build trust.

According to the Indian government, 535 Indian prisoners, including 483 fishermen, are in Pakistani jails, while 272 Pakistani prisoners are behind bars in India.

The attack on Ranjay came a day after India ordered tighter security for Pakistanis serving time in Indian jails.