Sanaullah Haq

 Sanaullah-HaqThe bagpiper of Jammu’s Kot Bhalwal jail succumbed on Thursday to severe injuries inflicted by a pickaxe by his fellow inmate. Sanaullah Haq, 52, a Pakistani prisoner died of multiple organ failure after remaining in critical condition for almost a week in a Chandigarh hospital.

Sanaullah, son of Ashiq Hussain, a resident of Daluwali village in Sialkot district of Pakistan was serving a life term under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act. He was attacked in jail by a court-martialled Indian soldier, the move Pakistan termed as “obvious retaliation” to a similar incident in a Pakistani jail where some prisoners attacked Sarabjit Singh, who was on a death row in Pakistan for terrorism charges related to a bombing in Faisalabad that had killed 14 people in 1990.

Following Sanaullah’s death, the Kot Bhalwal jail superintendent was suspended and an inquiry was ordered. Sanaullah was convicted for his involvement in a bomb blast that killed four people. The bomb was planted in a matador at Satwari Chowk in Jammu city on July 16, 1994. He was also blamed for another bomb blast at Nagorta on the outskirts of Jammu city which left 10 people dead on November 20, 1994.

He was arrested in the same year and after being lodged in several other jails of the state, he was sent to Kot Bhalwal jail in 1999 and remained incarcerated there till his death. The jail authorities claimed that Sanaullah was involved in digging tunnel in the jail in 1999. However, it was detected in time after which Pakistani prisoners were not kept in segregation. In 2009, the court had awarded him life imprisonment.

As the news of his demise spread, Pakistani foreign ministry said that the “brutal” attack was “a matter of deep concern” to the government in Islamabad. “This is an extra-judicial killing of an innocent citizen of Pakistan right under the noses of the Indian jail authorities,” Manzoor Ali Memon, the spokesman told media.

Back to valley with his summer Darbar, Omar Abdullah promised that those responsible for Sanaullah’s death would be held accountable. “Although it’s scant consolation, I’d like to offer a sincere apology to the family,” he wrote on Twitter. “While the inquiry will fix responsibility for any dereliction of duty, the fact that this (happened) at all is a matter of great regret.”

Earlier, the doctors at PGI Chandigarh issued the report over the condition of Sanaullah Haq according to which the attacked prisoner was in a brain-dead state. Sanaullah was good at playing bagpipe and would command the prison band.

-Bilal Handoo


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