LAHORE: Five months after it was announced that six Pakistanis detained in an Afghan jail were to be released, the Lahore High Court heard on Friday that the men are yet to be repatriated, before giving the government a final opportunity to file a detailed report over the matter.
Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan resumed hearing of a petition moved by Sultana Noon, representative of the non-profit law firm Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) on the detention of Pakistanis at the Bagram prison in Afghanistan..
During the hearing, deputy attorney general (DAG) appeared before the court and submitted a reply on behalf of the federal government. The DAG informed the court that the detention of six Pakistanis had been verified, and negotiation with United Stated of America (USA) for their repatriation and verification of other Pakistani detainees is underway.
Upon hearing the government’s reply, Justice Mahmood expressed his dissatisfaction at the process, and described the MFA’s update as maintaining the status quo with no real progress made in the five months since it was announced that the detainees were due for release.
Barrister Sarah Belal argued that the ongoing detention and delays in the repatriation of these Pakistani nationals were a clear violation of the Geneva Convention as found by the UK Supreme Court in the case of Pakistani national Yunis Rahmatullah.
She also noted that the same judgment stated that the Pakistani government was obligated to take decisive action to remedy such breaches of the Geneva Convention.
Lauding the UK Supreme Court opinion as remarkable, Justice Khan said that the court would pass a detailed order to the Pakistani government asking them to demonstrate whether they were taking effective measures for the repatriation of Pakistan’s citizens. The court indicated that the Ministry of Interior (MOI) should also be required to update the court.
However, the court adjourned further hearing for an indefinite period and the next date of hearing would be fixed by the registrar office.
According to the petitioner, ten men including Awal Noor, Hamidullah Khan, Abdul Haleem Saifullah, Fazal Karim, Amal Khan, Yunus Rahmatullah, Iftikhaar Ahmed, Amanatullah Ali, Shoaib Ahmed and Umran Khan are believed to be detained at the Bagram prison in Afghanistan.
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