Chinese lawmakers discuss prisoner swap with Pakistan

Two sides had opened negotiations on the subject in Islamabad in August 2014

Agencies April 29, 2020

BEIJING: The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) held a chairpersons' meeting to discuss reports on the deliberations on multiple draft laws and resolutions, including the transfer of convicted criminals between China and Pakistan, media reports said on Wednesday.

The meeting of China’s top legislative body was chaired by its chairman Li Zhanshu, and attended by its 123 members, and 47 other participants, including the heads of the NPC’s Constitution and Law Committee, the director of the Legislative Affairs Commission.

The meeting heard the report of the deliberations of a treaty on the transfer of convicted criminals between China and Pakistan. It decided to submit the draft to the ongoing NPC Standing Committee for a review.

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Pakistan and China started negotiations on the repatriation of convicted criminals in Islamabad in August 2014. After several sessions, both sides reached an agreement on a series of provisions and initiated the text of the treaty.

The treaty was signed by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and China’s Justice Minister Fu Zhenghua during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Beijing in November 2018. Imran and his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang had witnessed the signing ceremony.

The treaty will come into force after it would be endorsed by the legislatures of the two countries. Once the treaty comes into effect, each side will be able to transfer sentenced persons back to their own country.

The standing committee meeting comes ahead of the country’s biggest annual political gathering, the plenary session of the National People's Congress, which will begin on May 22 in Beijing. The session was scheduled for March 5 but was postponed in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.