The Supreme Court on 12 August voiced concern as to what would be the fate of Pakistani nationals on their release from Indian jails after completing their prison terms if Pakistan did not accept them as its citizens.
"The question which has to be looked into is that if we send these nationals back to their nation and if the other country refuses to accept them, then what would be their status and condition. This court can't go beyond the territory of the country. How to deal with that situation is what we need to look into," a bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and Abhay Manohar Sapre observed during the hearing of a petition espousing the cause of Pakistani prisoners arrested for illegally entering India through Jammu and Kashmir.
Senior advocate and Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) leader Bhim Singh, who has filed a petition in this regard, said 37 prisoners were still languishing in Amritsar jail and they should be repatriated to their country as they have completed their sentence. During the hearing, the Centre told the bench as per the earlier directions of the apex court, Pakistani nationals who are languishing in jails here are being sent back to their country.
It also informed the court that there was already an agreement with the government of Pakistan on this aspect and the needful was being done. Expressing serious concern over prolonged imprisonment of such prisoners, the court had earlier directed the Centre to release and repatriate within four weeks the 61 Pakistani nationals languishing in jails in India despite having undergone their punishment for various offences.
It had also asked the government to bring in a suitable mechanism to ensure that such foreign nationals are not forced to remain in jails as courts are being frequently flooded with complaints about Pakistani nationals being incarcerated in jails despite having served their sentence.