A petition was filed in the Lahore High Court on Thursday against detention of 50 Nigerians in different jails even though they had served their terms.
Advocate Awais Sheikh filed the petition on behalf of the prisoners.
He submitted that on October 26, 2011, 108 foreigners were arrested under the Foreigners Act 1946 on charges of incomplete/ invalid travel documents and were on December 8, 2011 sentenced to one month in prison and fined Rs 5,000.
If the fine was not paid they were to have served only an additional five days, Sheikh added.
The petitioner said the prisoners had been registered with the National Aliens Registration Authority (NARA) and applied for renewal of their Alien Registration Cards (ARC), but they had not received approval as yet.
Some prisoners were released on December 12, 2011, January 21, 2012 and February 11, 2012. However, 50 Nigerians had not been released and were still being held in different jails: 35 in Kot Lakhpat Jail, 11 in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, three in Faisalabad Jail and one at Quetta’s Huddal Jail, he said.
He said the Nigeria’s High Commissioner had sent a letter on April 20, 2012 to the secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Punjab’s home secretary and the superintendent of the Kot Lakhpat Jail reminding them of the illegal confinement of Nigerian citizens and requesting the Punjab home secretary to issue directions for their repatriation/deportation.
He said no action had been taken so far.
There is no law that allows prisoners to be kept in jails after their sentence is completed, he said.
He prayed the court to direct the secretary of the Ministry of Interior, secretary of the Punjab Home Department and the Inspector General of Punjab Prisons to release all the Nigerians detained illegally.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2012.
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