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Pak concerned about prisoners in Indian jails
Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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June 13, 2008 18:45 IST

Pakistan on Friday expressed concern at the treatment of its nationals in Indian jails after the bodies of two Pakistanis who died, while in custody in India, were handed over.

"We have called upon the Indian authorities to thoroughly investigate the causes leading to the deaths of these unfortunate Pakistani prisoners held in India," the Foreign Office spokesman said in a statement.

The spokesman expressed the "deep concern of the government of Pakistan at the treatment of Pakistani prisoners held in Indian jails".

"The issue has been under focus of the government at all levels and has been raised at the highest levels with the Indian side," he said.

The bodies of two Pakistani prisoners Rashida Bibi and Abdul Alim, who died in India about a month ago, were sent back through the Wagah land border on Friday.

Earlier this year, the bodies of Khalid Mehmood and Muhammad Akram were sent back to Pakistan after they died in Indian prisons.

The spokesman said: "We have also asked the Indian government to ensure the humane treatment of Pakistani prisoners held in their jails, provision of updated information on Pakistani prisoners and consular access, and early repatriation of specially those Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentences. These demands are well within the international human rights norms and have been agreed by the two governments in the recently signed Consular Access Agreement."

The Consular Access Agreement was signed by the two countries last month when the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan resumed the bilateral composite dialogue process.

The spokesman said Islamabad also hoped that the Pakistan-India Judicial Committee on Prisoners "will take cognisance of the matter during its forthcoming visit to India for meeting Pakistani prisoners held in India".

The Indian members of the committee are currently touring Pakistan to meet Indian prisoners in jails in Karachi, Lahore [Images] and Rawalpindi.

The Pakistani members of the committee are expected to visit India in or July or August.

The Committee, which held its first meeting in February this year, was set up as part of measures initiated by India and Pakistan to ensure the humane treatment and early release of prisoners.

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