SRINAGAR: A Pakistani prisoner who was arrested by authorities in India for trespassing more than two years ago has been found hanging inside a jail in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK), an official said on Saturday.
Showkat Ali, 42, a resident of Sialkot, had been lodged in a jail in Amphala, about 300 kilometres from the region’s main city of Srinagar, since December 2011. He was arrested on charges of illegally crossing the de facto border between the two rival countries.
“An inmate informed the jail authorities last (Friday) night that Showkat was hanging from the grill of a toilet in the barracks,” jail superintendent Harish Kotwal told AFP.
“He was hanging by a scarf and after he was brought down, the jail doctor declared him dead,” Kotwal said. The incident will be investigated by a magistrate and formalities for handing over his body to Pakistani authorities have begun, another police officer said.
Following the death of Showkat, Pakistan has demanded that India release on humanitarian grounds all such prisoners who have completed their sentences, Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said. Islamabad has also called for a probe into the prisoner’s death. Pakistan High Commissioner in India Salman Bashir has contacted Indian authorities to get a detailed report about the death of Showkat.
“Yes, I heard about this incident through the media and we are now in contact with Indian authorities to get more details,” Bashir told a Pakistani TV via telephone from New Delhi. Tasneem Aslam said that Islamabad has demanded that all of its prisoners who have completed their actual sentences should be released on humanitarian grounds.
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