The Lahore High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the foreign affairs secretary for December 1 on a petition seeking the inclusion of another Indian man on the list of foreigners still incarcerated in Pakistan despite completing their jail sentences.
On November 2, the Punjab prisons inspector general presented a list of 74 such foreign prisoners, 32 of them Indians, in court. The court directed the Foreign Office and other authorities to expedite their release.
On Tuesday, Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik heard a petition by Advocate Awais Sheikh asking that an Indian national named Surjit Singh alias Makhan Singh also be recognised as having completed his jail term. Sheikh said that the Lahore central jail superintendent had told him that Singh had been in the prison for 10 years longer than his 25-year jail term.
He said that he had already sent Singh’s identification documents to the authorities concerned, while his daughter Kalvindar Kaur had offered to send a sample of her DNA to prove his identity.
Sheikh said Singh’s continued detention in the presence of proof of identification and after the completion of his sentence was illegal, unconstitutional, unjust and a violation of fundamental rights provided by international law.
He asked the court to direct the foreign affairs secretary and the jail superintendent to put Singh on the list of foreign prisoners earlier presented in court so he too may be released with the others.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2011.
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