Four member Pak-team of judges visits Central Jail

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Amritsar, Aug 18 (UNI) A four member team of retired judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan today identified 49-Pakistani civil prisoners in the high security Central Jail here for repatriation to their homeland.

The 49 prisoners identified by the team are amongst the 55 Pakistani's lodged in the Central Jail here. All the identified prisoners have completed their jail terms and are expected to be repatriated within a forthnight.

The judges-Nasir Aslam Zahil, Fazal Karim, Mian Mohammed Ajmal and Abdul Qadir Chaudhry arrived in India through the Attari-Wagah checkpost alongwith three other officials of Pakistan. A staffer at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad accompanied them.

A senior official of the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs and an official of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi received the team on their arrival at the border. The Judges later visited the Central Jail and interacted with the Pakistani prisoners.

The four-member team is part of the seven-member team of Indian and Pakistani judges that was formed sometime back for identifying prisoners in each others jails and hastening their repatriation to their respective countries. The Indian judges of this team are Justice Amarbir Singh Gill, Justice M A Khan and Justice Amarjit Choudhary.

The judges spoke to each of the 55-Pakistani prisoners in the presence of Central Jail officials.Amongst the prisoners identified was Bhaktiar Ahmed, who was arrested in 1990 and sentenced to 10-years imprisonment under the NDPS Act and Official Secrets Act.

Later talking to mediapersons, the members of the team from across the border stated that they would also visit the high security Tihar Jail in Delhi and the Jaipur jail for identifying the prisoners for repatriation. "This team of Indo-Pak judges has basically been formed to speed up the process of repatriation which was very combersome and time consuming", Justice Karim said.

The team members stated that their stress would be to identify the prisoners charged with minor offences and the handicapped and mentally unstable prisoners in Indian jails. The judges claimed that currently there were 450 Indian fishermen in jails across the border.

They categorically stated that there was no Indian POW in any Pakistani jail. They refused to comment on Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who is facing the gallows for his alleged involvement in bomb blast cases in the early 1990's.

UNI XC-HS VN1824

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