Islamabad, June 23: An Indian fisherman allegedly died of an electric shock in a Karachi jail today, prompting a former Pakistan minister to demand a probe into the mysterious circumstances of the death.
Bhagwan Bhega, 23, was electrocuted while taking a bath in Landhi Jail, a prison official told The Telegraph.
He said the electronic water suction pump had apparently caused the death. But an inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the exact cause of the accident.
However, TV reports had earlier said the fisherman from Gujarat received the electric shock while switching a washing machine on.
It is a bit hard to believe that a prisoner can die of an electric shock. It is not as if he was at home or at his workplace and could have been exposed to electrical equipment, said former Pakistan human rights minister and leading rights activist Ansar Burney.
I have asked the authorities to ensure that the death is investigated to find out what exactly happened, added Burney, who is fighting to secure the release of Sarabjit Singh, an alleged Indian spy sentenced to hang.
Bhagwan, who was from Junagadh, was arrested with 16 other fishermen on April 24 on the charge of fishing in Pakistani waters.
He is the second Indian prisoner to die in Landhi Jail in the past three months. Laxman Kanji, a 40-year-old fisherman, died of cardiac arrest after being taken to hospital from the prison on March 20.
Indian high commission officials said they had not yet been formally informed about Bhagwans death. They said a committee set up by India and Pakistan to study the problems of prisoners had recommended that authorities should inform each other about jail deaths as soon as they happened.
India and Pakistan frequently detain each others fishermen on the charge of violating maritime boundaries. Scores of Indian fishermen are being held in Landhi Jail.
They are among the hundreds of Pakistanis and Indians who languish in each others jails. Last month, Pakistan freed 99 Indians, including 96 fishermen, during a visit by foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee.
The two countries recently formed a joint committee of retired judges to ensure humane treatment of prisoners and recommend measures to speed up their release. The Indian members of the panel visited Pakistani jails this month and met Indian prisoners in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi.
Four Pakistanis have died in Indian jails in the past few months. On June 13, Islamabad had asked Delhi to probe two of these deaths, including that of an old woman.
India said they died of natural causes but Pakistan expressed concern at the treatment of its nationals in Indian custody.