Centre agrees to repatriate Pakistan prisoners
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, Mar 22: Government Monday informed the Supreme Court that its policy of releasing Pakistani prisoners is not linked to the fate of Indian prisoners there.
In an affidavit filed by the Home Ministry in response to the petition filed by Pakistani national Jafaria seeking his release from jail, the government said that repatriation of High Risk Security Pak prisoners is under consideration.
“It is submitted that release and repatriation of Pak national who have completed the sentence is not being linked to the release and repatriation of the Indian prisoners lodged in jails in Pakistan,” the government said in its five page affidavit.
“The repatriation of Security and High Risk Security Pak prisoners has been under consideration in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs. “It has since been decided that all the Pak prisoners, who have completed the sentence, who have been given consular access and in whose case nationality has been confirmed and travel documents issued by the Pakistani authorities, may be considered for repatriation,” the Home Ministry said in its reply.
Justifying the delay in repatriating him, the government submitted that it can be done only after nationality is confirmed and the travel documents are issued by the Pakistan High Commission.
The government response came on a plea of 60-year Jafaria, lodged in an Indain jail for the last 13 years, the last four being after completion of his 9-year prison term for offences under the Official Secrets Act, seeking release from jail.
Jafaria, a permanent resident of Chorewala, District-Rahimiarkhan Pakistan, alleged that he has been illegally detained for the last four years after undergoing actual sentence of nine years awarded by a lower court. He is presently lodged in Jaipur central jail. In a similar case, the apex court had on March 8 directed the Centre to deport within two months all Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentences after being arrested under the Public Safety Act of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Relief under Article 21 of the Constitution of India is available to every person irrespective of his nationality. This provision in the Indian Constitution cannot be allowed to be diluted,” the court had said.
“This court is the custodian of the civil rights of every person, Indian or foreigner, under Article 21 and no person shall be deprived of his life or liberty without the procedure established by law,” the court had said.
“How can the government keep them in detention in violation of the fundamental rights of a person for years together without resorting to the procedure of law?” it had said.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 22 Mar 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 22 Mar 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 23 Mar 2010 00:00:00 IST
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