India, Pakistan to exchange prisoners’ list by March 31

February 27th, 2008 - 8:17 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 27 (IANS) Spurred by a humanitarian impulse, a joint India-Pakistan judicial committee has asked the two countries to exchange a consolidated list of prisoners by March 31 and release those who have completed their sentences. These recommendations were made by the joint judicial committee on prisoners, comprising retired judges, which held its first meeting here Tuesday.

“All efforts be made to arrange early release of all those prisoners, accused or convicted of minor offences, once their nationality status is confirmed,” the committee said.

The committee recommended to the two governments a set of steps to push forward the release of prisoners in each other’s countries that include exchanging a consolidated list with full particulars and their present status of nationals in each others’ jails March 31 this year.

The committee also recommended that prisoners who have completed their sentences and whose national status has been verified be released forthwith, said a joint statement released here Wednesday.

The panel asked the two governments to “show special consideration, on compassionate and humanitarian basis, to women, juvenile and disabled prisoners for their repatriation”.

As agreed between the two governments, those fishermen in custody whose nationality status is confirmed be released forthwith and in remaining cases, consular access be provided by March 31, the panel recommended.

The eight-member committee was formed in January last year by the foreign ministers of the two countries to recommend steps for humane treatment and expeditious release of prisoners of the respective countries in each other’s jails.

The panel suggested that each country should immediately notify the other of the arrest of its nationals and provide consular success expeditiously.

The committee also agreed to visit jails in Pakistan in April on dates agreed through diplomatic channels. This would be followed by a return visit to Indian jails.

Justice (retd) Nagendra Rai, Justice (retd) Amarjeet Choudhary, Justice (retd) A.S. Gill and Justice (retd) M.A. Khan represent the Indian side in the committee. Pakistan is represented by Justice (retd) Abdul Qadeer Chaudhary, Justice (retd) Fazal Karim, Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid, and Justice (retd) Mian Muhammad Ajmal.

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