SC shocked by number of Pakistanis in Indian jails

Last Updated: Friday, November 11, 2011 - 13:59

New Delhi: Expressing "shock" over large
number of Pakistani nationals languishing in various Indian
jails without trial, the Supreme Court today asked the Centre
to file within two weeks a comprehensive report on them.

A bench headed by Justice R M Lodha also asked the
government to explain as to why four women among the jailed
Pakistanis should not be repatriated without any delay.

"You should take certain things seriously. Give us
entire picture so that we could pass order. Complete
information is not forthcoming. Let there be a comprehensive
exercise and complete information be provided about foreign
nationals in Indian jails," the bench said.

The court was hearing a plea by J&K National Panthers`
Party chief Bhim Singh seeking its directions to the Centre to
release around 300 Pakistani nationals, lodged in different
jails of the country.

He submitted that they have been in jails for many years
without trial and which is against the law, prompting the
court to state that "It is shocking".

"Right to personal liberty is the most dear Article (of
the Constitution) to us and the most precious right given to
the people," the bench said while pulling up the government
for not giving complete information to it on prisoners in
various Indian jails.

"You have complete information with you. Why do you give
information piece meal?," the bench said after hearing
arguments from various sides and adjourned the matter for two
weeks.

The apex court had in January directed the Centre to
release and repatriate 61 Pakistani nationals languishing in
various Indian jails despite having served their sentences.

The Pakistani nationals were arrested more than a decade
ago on various charges, including those for carrying out
militant activities, crossing the border and causing breach of
public peace, Singh had said in a human interest plea, adding
though most of them have served their sentences, they continue
to languish in jails.

In three separate applications on behalf of the victims,
he had alleged earlier that 752 Pakistani prisoners were
languishing in various jails. Out of these, 205 are awaiting
repatriation, 318 are awaiting consular access and 205 are
awaiting confirmation of their nationality, he had said.

The government in January had also told the court that as
per the court`s earlier order, it had already repatriated 57
Pakistani prisoners. But in the case of one Abdul Quadri
Khwaja, the Pakistan government has refused to take him since
they believe he was an Afghan national.

PTI



First Published: Friday, November 11, 2011 - 11:36

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