Pakistan expresses reservations about death of prisoner in J&K jail

Last Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 21:01

Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday expressed reservations about the death of a Pakistani prisoner found hanging inside a jail in Kashmir last week.

Jail authorities had claimed Shaukat Ali, had committed suicide by using a scarf to hang himself from the iron bars of a toilet window at the jail in Jammu.

Jail officials also said 42-year-old Ali was under medication for depression and had recently been examined by a psychiatrist in jail.

Pakistan Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson, Tasnim Aslam, told a weekly news briefing in Islamabad that circumstances under which the death occurred were extremely suspicious.

"About Shaukat Ali who died in jail, an unnatural death, we were told that he committed suicide. There were also reports that he was mentally not a balanced person. And that begs a question: if he was not a balanced person, and that is the reason for his suicide, then what was he doing in jail in the first place? How can you keep a mentally-challenged person in jail?" Aslam said in reply to questions.

"We have asked India to conduct investigations, and we hope a report will be shared with us when their investigations are complete," she added.

Shaukat Ali, a resident of Sialkot in Pakistan, who was arrested on charges of illegally crossing the de facto border between the two countries, had been lodged in a jail in Amphala, about 300 kilometers from Srinagar, since December 2011.

Aslam said Islamabad had asked Pakistan`s high commission in India to furnish more details about the incident, and demanded that all of its prisoners who have completed their actual sentences should be released on humanitarian grounds.
Last May, a Pakistani prisoner died of his injuries after he was savagely beaten by fellow convicts in another jail in Kashmir, leading to calls for an international probe into his death.
His death followed a similar assault in Lahore`s Kot Lakhpat jail on a high-profile prisoner Sarabjit Singh who had been on death row for more than 21 years.

PTI

First Published: Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 21:01

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