Friday, December 2, 2011

They don't want to return to Pakistan !

Pakistan prisoners do not want to go back home, Centre tells Supreme Court

Pakistan prisoners do not want to go back home, Centre tells Supreme Court
Pakistani prisoners on their way to home after being released by Indian administration, at Attari-Wagah border earlier this month.
NEW DELHI: For years, the Supreme Courtegged on the Centre to expedite deportation of hundreds of Pakistani prisoners languishing in Indian jails even after completion of their prison term, but on Friday it was pleasantly surprised to learn that many did not want to go back. 
Filing a comprehensive status report onPakistani prisoners in India, the ministry of external affairs told a bench of Justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale that as many as 53 Pakistani prisoners had challenged their deportation order before the Delhi High Court. 
Additional solicitor general Parag Tripathi said out of 262 foreign prisoners, deportation orders were issued to 238 while four had escaped from detention. Only 20 such prisoners remained to be repatriated, he added. The MEA status report indicated that the 53 Pakistani prisoners were demanding political asylum requesting that they be treated as refugees. 

Taking note of the Centre's submissions, the bench said, "It is a serious matter." Having taken a critical view of the tardy process of deportation of those prisoners who had completed their sentences, the bench said, "So far as the government is concerned, they have issued the deportation orders. It is the prisoners who seek political asylum." 

The court asked petitioner, Jammu and Kashmir Panther's Party chief and advocate Bhim Singh, to explain why he claimed that the Union government was doing precious little to expedite the deportation of those Pakistani prisoners who had completed their prison term. 

The petitioner informed the court that the cases against the 53 Pakistani nationals (including women and children) were still pending before Patiala House courts. They had challenged their deportation before the Delhi HC and even approached the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) for asylum. It was pointed out that the prisoners belonged to an ethnic minority, Mehdis, and for this reason they sought asylum in India or any country other than Pakistan. 

A list annexed to the Centre's affidavit gave the names of the 53 prisoners who were charged under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act relating to illegal migration. The FIR against them was lodged at Parliament Street police station in 2007. They are lodged in Tihar jail. 

The petitioner requested the court to take a compassionate view. The bench said, "In these matters, we have to be concerned about human rights. Technicalities must not come in the way of violation of these rights." However, it clarified, "We find most times the facts (given by petitioner) are unverified." 

The court fixed January 24 for the next hearing while asking the petitioner to compile a comprehensive list of foreign prisoners lodged in Indian jails.

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