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Pakistani Prisoner Critical After Retaliatory India Jail Attack

A Pakistani prisoner is in a critical condition after being beaten in an Indian jail in a possible retaliatory attack a day after a convicted Indian spy died from head injuries sustained in a Lahore prison.

Sanaullah Haq, who is serving a life sentence, was attacked this morning in a jail in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir, India’s home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said in televised comments without specifying the man’s crime. A case of assault has been registered against an Indian serviceman, the Times of India reported, without saying where it got the information.

“This obvious retaliation to the death of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh is condemnable,” Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The attacks on prisoners are the latest to strain relations between the two neighbors that were engaged in some of their most serious cross-border skirmishes in almost a decade in Kashmir in January and February. The fighting damaged efforts to repair ties shattered by the 2008 Mumbai terrorist strike after a bid to improve trade and ease travel curbs.

Pakistan’s government called for the perpetrators of the attack on Haq to be punished and for India to ensure the safety and security of all Pakistani prisoners.

India will provide Pakistan with consular assistance, Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesman for Ministry of External Affairs, said in televised comments today.

Sarabjit Singh, the Indian convicted of spying, sustained several injuries, including a fractured skull, when attacked by prisoners in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat prison on April 26. He died shortly after midnight local time yesterday.

Singh ‘Innocent’

Singh was arrested in 1990 and later found guilty of spying and involvement in deadly bomb blasts in Pakistani cities. His family has said the man hails from a border village in the northern Indian state of Punjab and had crossed the countries’ frontier by mistake.

India considers Singh innocent of his alleged crimes and the prime minister brought up his case with the Pakistani government as far back as 2005, Akbaruddin, told reporters in New Delhi yesterday. There are 535 Indian prisoners in Pakistan’s jails and 273 Pakistanis in Indian custody, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew MacAskill in New Delhi at amacaskill@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net

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