Lahore: A Pakistani court has asked
authorities to inform it about the current status of an Indian
prisoner being held in a jail in Lahore even though he
completed his sentence last year.
The Lahore High Court yesterday directed the Foreign
Secretary to inform it of the status of Surjeet Singh,
who was convicted for spying in 1985 and initially sentenced
to death under the Pakistan Army Act.
Subsequently, Singh`s death sentence was commuted to
life imprisonment in 1988.
After going through the Lahore Central Jail
superintendent`s report on Singh, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik
directed the Foreign Secretary to submit a report on the
prisoner by December 20.
The jail superintendent submitted a written reply to
the court in response to a petition seeking Singh`s release
and the inclusion of his name in a list of foreign prisoners
languishing in Pakistani jails despite having completed their
The superintendent said Singh`s jail term had ended
on October 30, 2010.
Following this, the superintendent wrote four letters
to the Inspectorate of Prisons and the Home Department between
November 2010 and March, seeking instructions on what to do
The superintendent said Singh had been in the
Central Jail since October 31, 1985.
The army`s General Headquarters rejected his mercy
petition but forwarded it to the President on December 24,
The then President, Zia-ul-Haq, did not make a
decision on the petition.
However, on December 8, 1988, President Ghulam Ishaq
Khan announced a general amnesty for all death row prisoners.
Subsequently, Singh`s death sentence was converted to
life imprisonment, with the term set to end on October 30,
Lawyer Awais Sheikh filed the petition on behalf of
He asked the court to direct the Foreign Ministry and
the prison superintendent to include Singh?s name in the list
of foreign prisoners awaiting release after completing their
The Inspector General of Prisons of Punjab province
had last month issued a list of 74 foreign prisoners,
including 32 Indians, who were being held in Pakistani jails
despite having completed their sentences.
The Inspector General contended that the countries
to which these prisoners belonged and Pakistan`s Foreign
Office were responsible for their prolonged detention.
The High Court had then directed the Foreign Office
and other Pakistani authorities to expedite their release.