Pakistani Prisoner Dies After Retaliatory India Jail Attack

A Pakistani prisoner beaten in an Indian jail died from his injuries in an alleged retaliatory attack that occurred a day after a convicted Indian spy was killed from head injuries sustained in a Lahore prison.

Sanaullah Haq, who was serving a life sentence for terrorism offences, died at about 7 a.m. this morning, Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said in a phone interview. Haq was attacked in a jail in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir on May 3.

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 this year. The fighting damaged efforts to repair ties shattered by the 2008 Mumbai terrorist strike after a bid to improve trade and ease travel curbs.

The assault was “obvious retaliation” for the murder of the Indian prisoner, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said last week. Pakistan 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.

A case of assault has been registered against an Indian serviceman, the Times of India reported last week, without saying where it got the information.

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 on May 2.

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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