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India & Pakistan must complete nationality verification of their prisoners in 90 days - Statement by PIPFPD

3 January

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Pakistan - India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy

Press Statement

January 3, 2017

Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) expresses its deep concern about the case of a prisoner in Jammu who belongs to Pakistan. Rubeena is in prison even after the completion of her sentence since her nationality is not yet verified by Pakistan.

Rubeena, a resident of Musa Colony, Hyderabad, Pakistan had visited Delhi in November 2012 for medical treatment for asthma. She was accompanied by her husband and four-month-old daughter who has been with her all these years. According to reports in the media, she has said that her husband abandoned her and disappeared with her documents and money. Rubeena was arrested on 6th November 2012 and her sentence was completed on 7th Oct 2013. Consular access was given on 26th February 2013 in Amritsar. Nearly four years have passed and her nationality has still not been verified. Chaudhry Nisar, Interior Minister, Pakistan took note of this case and enquired last Sunday about the details. He has directed the government authorities to take action within 48 hours.

In a similar case, Rashid Mallah, a Pakistani fisherman, has been in jail in Kutch as his nationality is also not confirmed.

Last year 14 Indian prisoners returned to India from Pakistan much after their sentences were over since the Indian government took very long to confirm their nationality. It is to be noted that this is one of the prominent reasons for many prisoners to be languishing in jails since years. It is also important to note that there have been cases in recent years when even in case of death of a prisoner, the body is not sent to the family for months because the nationality verification is not done.

PIPFPD demands that the nationality verification of prisoners must be done within a fixed time limit notified by both the countries which should not be more than 90 days. Also, the verification must definitely be done before the completion of the sentence of any prisoner in either of the two countries.

We also demand that once the sentence is complete, a person should not be kept in prison and until the time that the nationality verification has not been conducted, adequate measures should be ensured towards right to safe and secure life within the premises, the breach of which should be considered the gravest of human right violation. No prisoner – be they Indian or Pakistani – should suffer because of delay in Nationality verification.

For Further Details Contact: pipfpd.india[at]gmail.com | Ph: 09869077718