India and Pakistan are planning to set up homes for prisoners on either side of the international borders to house those who have completed their jail term but were yet to be repatriated. They will be run by non-governmental organisations.
“India and Pakistan have decided to set up at least one such home that will be used to keep prisoners who are yet to be repatriated. Even after completion of their jail terms, Pakistani nationals are still languishing in our jails as Pakistan is not willing to accept them as their citizens…to address this issue it has been decided to run such homes where these prisoners will be housed till their nationality and other issues are settled,” Home Secretary R.K. Singh told journalists here.
Mr. Singh, who headed the Indian delegation at the second round of Home/Interior Secretary-level bilateral dialogue in Islamabad last week, said this issue was discussed at the meeting and it was decided to rope in NGOs to carry out this job.
The two sides also reached an agreement on the release of fishermen who have completed their sentences, along with their boats, while an agreement has also been reached on transfer of prisoners.
Mr. Singh said that in some cases Pakistan refused to accept them as their citizens despite being provided all documentary evidences, while in some cases these people did not want to go back. “There are over 30 Pakistani prisoners who are still in India despite completing their sentences… we are now trying to evolve some mechanism to resolve this issue.”
Significantly, in March, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to ensure that Pakistani nationals languishing in jails even after completing their sentences were not deprived of their dignity and rights.
The court asked the government to ensure proper treatment for 21 Pakistani nationals who were stated to be mentally challenged.