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India-Pakistan committee on Prisoners conclude visit to Indian jails

New Delhi, Fri, 27 Jan 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Jan 27 (ANI): Members of the India-Pakistan Judicial Committee on Prisoners visited Indian jails in Delhi, Jaipur and Amritsar from 23-27 January. The members of the Committee, Justice (Retd.) Mr A.S Gill and Justice (Retd) Mr. M.A Khan from the Indian side and Justice (Retd.) Mr. Nasir Aslam Zahid and Justice (Retd.) Mian Muhammad Ajmal from Pakistan side visited the jails.


46 Pakistani Prisoners at Central Jail Tihar, New Delhi, 98 Pakistani Prisoners at Central Jail, Jaipur and 45 Pakistani Prisoners at Central Jail, Amritsar were presented before the Committee.


On the conclusion of the visit, the Committee made a number of recommendations, including the permission of consular access to the prisoners within three months, creation of a mechanism for providing compassionate and humanitarian consideration to women and mentally challenged prisoners and compassionate treatment for those incolved in minor visa offence and inadvertent border crossing.


The following are the points recommended at the conclusion of visit.


a) The "Consular Access Agreement" of May 2008 signed between two government must be implemented fully. Consular access must be provided within three months of the arrest and repatriation must take place within one month of confirmation of national status and completion of sentences;


b) Consular access must be provided at the immediately to all those prisoners who have not been given consular access so far and the process of nationality confirmation should start immediately after consular access is provided;


c) A mechanism should be developed for compassionate and humanitarian consideration to be given to women, juvenile, mentally challenged, old aged and all those prisoners suffering from serious illness/permanent physical disability;


d) It was also recommended that serious/terminally and mentally challenged prisoners must be kept in hospitals irrespective of confirmation of their national status and offence;


e) Prisoners involved in minor offences like violation of Foreigners' Act, visa violation and inadvertent border crossing deserve compassion from both the sides;


f) The Committee noted that the respective courts must be requested for expeditious trial of all "under trial" prisoners. Provision of legal aid/attorneys to prisoners must be ensured at all stages of their cases;


g) The Committee also endorsed the recommendations of the Home/Interior Secretary level talks held on 28-29 March 2011 at New Delhi to task the Pakistani Maritime Security Agency and Coast Guard of India to work on setting up a mechanism for release of inadvertent crossers (fishermen) and their boats, on the same lines as the inadvertent crossers on land; It was recommended that the fishermen should be repatriated by sea lanes along with their boats;


h) It was suggested that the next visit of the Committee to Pakistani jails be arranged during the second half of April 2012;


The Committee will review the action taken report on the earlier recommendations when the Committee meets next in Pakistan". (ANI)


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