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India asks Pakistan court for return of its four convicts

India asks Pakistan court for return of its four convicts

The Indian High Commission has reached out to the Islamabad High Court (IHC), seeking the return of four Indian convicts in Pakistani jails, as they have completed their term.

A petition of the Indian High Commission, filed through Barrister Malik Shah Nawaz, requests the court to release the Indian prisoners – Birchu, Bang Kumar, Satish Bhag and Sonu Singh – as they have served their sentences after being convicted by the military courts on charges of espionage and terrorism in Pakistan.

The petition maintained that the prisoners were arrested by Pakistani military authorities and were charged under section 59 of the Pakistan Army Act 1954 and provisions of Official Secret Act 1923.

"It is the case of petitioners that they have not committed any offence and the entire proceedings initiated from the arrest till culmination in the ultimate conviction are an abuse of process of law but for the purpose of instant writ petition it would be a futile exercise to indulge into the legality of conviction and sentence as by now the condemned prisoners have already exhausted their respective period of sentences awarded by the FGCM," contented the petition.

It cited Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Interior and Secretary Foreign Affairs as respondents.

A single bench of the IHC heard the case, which stated that "cases of similar nature are pending before the IHC Chief Justice", before forwarding the matter to Chief Justice Athar Minallah for further proceedings.

The petition highlights that "any person belonging to any country tried by the Pakistani authorities except that his glorious protection of law to their life and liberty would be extended to them as a matter of right and dignity".

"The detention of condemned prisoners for the time being at the hands of respondents is nothing but illegal, unjustified and against the law and dictums of superior courts of the country," the petitioner's counsel contended.

"No reason of legal grounds exists under which the former convicts could be kept behind the bars hence the former convicts should be released and repatriated to their country enabling them to meet their families."

The IHC Chief Justice will hear the case with other relevant cases, while the respondents into the case are yet to file their response into the matter before the court also.