Islamabad, Sept 15 (ANI): The Supreme Court of Pakistan, while disposing of a petition challenging the continued detention of 582 fishermen of Indian nationality, has ordered the government to complete the trial of 128 detained Indian fishermen within six weeks.
A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Ghulam Rabbani disposed of the constitutional petition jointly filed by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research and Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum that challenged the continued detention, arrest, prosecution and conviction of 582 Indian fishermen held at various jails in Sindh, the Daily Times reports.
The Interior Ministry submitted a detailed report before the court stating that the government had already released 442 fishermen who had completed their jail terms.
Earlier on August 12, the Supreme Court had issued notices to the ministries of foreign affairs, the interior ministry, Sindh Home Department and the federal government asking them to explain under which law the 582 fishermen were being held.
During the last hearing on August 26, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the federal government informed the court that they had already asked the Interior Ministry to release 456 detainees who had completed their sentences and whose nationality the Indian High Commission had confirmed. The court had then again issued a notice to the Interior Ministry asking it to explain why the fishermen were not being released and repatriated.
Their lawyer- Sayyad Iqbal Haider- pleaded to the court to pass a ruling that once an Indian fisherman completes his sentence for illegally crossing into the country, the Pakistani authorities must repatriate him.
Pakistan has released 2,723 Indian fishermen and India has released 512 Pakistani fishermen since 2003. (ANI)