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SC wants details of detained Pakistanis

September 02, 2003 18:17 IST

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the government to inform it, by September 18, about the whereabouts of 11 Pakistani prisoners and on the grounds on which they were detained.

The time was given by a bench comprising Justice M B Shah and Justice A R Lakshmanan when Attorney General Soli J Sorabjee, whose assistance was sought by the court during the last hearing, said though he had not been able lay his hands on orders pertaining to their detention, he would be able to file a proper response on the issue if given two weeks' time.

During the last hearing, the bench had permitted Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh to send representatives to various jails in which these 11 Pakistani nationals were lodged and interview them for legal aid.

Singh on Tuesday told the bench that the representatives went to Agra prison where, according to the J&K government, one Pakistani national, Bisharat Ali Rajput, was detained.

However, the jail authorities informed that no such prisoner was detained there.

The bench, then, asked the government to furnish by the next date of hearing details of the prisons in which these Pakistani nationals were held.

On the detention orders, the bench observed: "The state of Jammu and Kashmir is issuing orders here and thereafter petitions were filed in the apex court."

Taking judicial notice of the jailing of the 11 Pakistani nationals for over a decade, the court on August 19 had issued a notice to the attorney general seeking his assistance on the question as to which provision of law permitted such a prolonged detention.

In a parallel proceeding, a bench comprising Justice Ruma Pal and Justice P V Reddi had, on August 21, said that the government must grant the prayer of a few Pakistani prisoners for deportation, as they had served their sentence and were not detained under any law or statutory order.

Granting time till September 2 to the government to pass appropriate orders under the Foreigners Act after examining the case of each Pakistani prisoner, the bench had observed that if proper orders were not passed, the court would be constrained to direct their release.

Details of the 11 prisoners, whose cases have been taken up are: Bisharat Ali Rajput (Pak-occupied-Kashmir, lodged in Agra); Umar Din (PoK, lodged at Varanasi); Shahid Mehmood (Rawalpindi, lodged at Naini); Mohammed Ishfaq Rajput (Sialkot, lodged at Naini); Abdul Khaliq (Faisalabad, lodged at Varanasi); Zamir Ahmed (Gujranwala, at Varanasi); Iftekhar Hyder (Peshawar, lodged at Naini); Salla-ud-Din (Faisalabad, at Naini); Mohammed Akram Balouch (Balochistan, at Naini); Habibullah Shah (Wajidapora Kasoor, at Varanasi); and Assadullah Qadri (PoK, at Naini).

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