The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday directed the ministry of foreign affairs to confirm the nationality of all 32 Pakistanis detained by US authorities at the Bagram prison.
Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan issued the order on request of the petitioner saying that there can be no real progress in the repatriation of 32 Pakistani detainees, unless the government owns them as Pakistani citizens.
The hearing on the petition filed by Justice Project Pakistan, seeking directions for repatriation of Pakistani prisoners from Bagram, has been adjourned till May 30. Counsel for the foreign ministry had expressed reservations in conveying the request for ascertaining the nationality of detainees to US authorities. Justice Khan noted “it is a simple request and it should not be difficult to confirm their nationality.”
Barrister Sarah Belal, the petitioner’s counsel, had told the court that under a new agreement between the US and Afghan governments, the United States had pledged to hand over all detention facilities in Afghanistan to Afghan authorities within six months.
However, she said, “the agreement made no mention of foreign nationals being held at US detention facilities.”
Consequently, the future of any Pakistanis at Bagram was “uncertain at best” and “they might as well disappear” if no action was taken by the Pakistani government within the stipulated six months, she added.
Justice Project Pakistan maintains that seven Pakistanis had been detained at Bagram jail without any charge or trial since 2003.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2012.
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