India-Pak Judicial Committee concludes Pak visit

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New Delhi, Jun 14 (UNI) The India-Pakistan Judicial Committee on Prisoners today recommended remission of sentences to all prisoners convicted under any special law or military law and making of necessary amendments in the rules for the purpose by both governments if necessary.

The eight-member Committee which includes retired judges from both countries--four from each side--held its second meeting in Pakistan and visited jails in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore, the External Affairs Ministry said here today.

The Committee which began deliberations on June 9, also recommended that women and juvenile prisoners, prisoners terminally ill or suffering from mental or physical illness, whether under-trials or convicts, be immediately repatriated to their country of origin and action be taken for withdrawal of prosecution or remission of their remaining sentence.

It said that 34 Indian juvenile fishermen, presently at the 'Youthful Offenders Industrial School' in Karachi be repatriated immediately and necessary action be taken for immediate withdrawal of prosecution.

The Committee noted that lists of prisoners exchanged by the two Governments on March 31 were not complete and did not include names and details of all detenues/prisoners.

It said the procedure for preparation and updating such lists should be streamlined and the next lists to be exchanged on July one, would be complete and without omissions.

Such lists should contain information about the date of arrest, details of sentence, charges under which the prisoner was sentenced and the expected date of release.

The Committee reiterated that Consular access be provided within a month of arrest and process of national status confirmation initiated immediately so that release is not delayed.

It noted that the extended time taken to confirm the national status and recommended that the process be simplified and confirmation expedited.

It also took note of the pending cases of confirmation and suggested that steps be taken to confirm the nationality by July 31. It said that in all cases where Consular access was yet to be provided, should be provided before July 31.

The Committee said efforts should be made to identify prisoners from both sides who could be considered for early release and expedite their repatriation.

The Committee members decided to visit Indian jails from July 20-27.

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