Pakistan prisoner on life support in India

NEW DELHI (AFP) - A Pakistani prisoner savagely attacked in an Indian jail remained on life support in hospital on Monday, as a diplomatic team quoted doctors as saying the man's brain was no longer functioning.

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.

Last week, Ranjay was airlifted to a state-run hospital in the city of Chandigarh, 250 kilometres north of New Delhi.

The state-run facility said in a bulletin that Ranjay "continues to be on a ventilator" and added his "metabolic parameters are now settling", according to the Press Trust of India.

Pakistani diplomats, including High Commissioner Salman Bashir, visited the prisoner at the hospital.

Doctors briefing the diplomats on the prisoner's condition said he had a lung infection and his brain "is not functioning", Pakistan High Commission spokesman Manzoor Ali Memon told AFP.

The hospital bulletin made no mention of Ranjay's brain function.

His relatives from Pakistan were due to visit him in hospital on Tuesday, the spokesman said.

"We have also requested the Indian government to enquire into the attack and find the mastermind," he added.

He said Islamabad had also asked New Delhi to free 47 jailed Pakistanis who had completed their sentences.

Ranjay, who is 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 last week in Pakistan and was cremated with state honours in his native village in north-western India where hundreds of protesters shouted "Down with Pakistan!" as they gathered to pay tributes.

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

New Delhi says 535 Indian prisoners, including 483 fishermen, are in Pakistani jails, while 272 Pakistani prisoners are behind bars in India.

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