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Supreme Court of Pakistan issues notices to Federal, Sindh governments on petition for detained Indian fishermen

by PILER, 13 August 2010

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Karachi, Aug. 12, 2010: The constitution petition, filed by Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum and Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) as well as five under detention Indian fishermen as well as four under trial Indian fishermen, on behalf of all the 582 Indian fishermen in the jails of Sindh province of Pakistan was heard on Thursday in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Islamabad by a bench of three honorable judges headed by Mr. Justice Tassaduq Hussain Gilani, Mr. Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Mr. Justice Asif Khosa.

After hearing of the arguments of the counsel of the petitioner, Sayed Iqbal Haider, senior advocate of the Supreme Court, the bench issued notices of this petition to both the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of foreign Affairs of the Government of Pakistan and Home Department of Government of Sindh, requiring them to explain under what lawful authority were the Indian fishermen arrested, prosecuted and convicted. They were also asked to disclose the law under which Indian fishermen have been detained. The court has also directed the Government of Sindh to file their concise statement, stating all the facts and laws. The court has also issued a notice to the Attorney General of Pakistan for assistance of the court.

The next date of the hearing was fixed on 26th August, 2010, before this date the federal and provincial government will have to file their respective explanations and concise statements in the apex court.

It may be noted that out of 582 Indian fishermen there are 454 under detention for the past more than one to three years and there are 128 Indian fishermen, who are under trial prisoners in four district jails of Sindh at Malir, Badin, Nara Jail and Naushehro Feroz.

The petitioners had filed the petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 25th of July, 2010 at Islamabad. In their petition the petitioners have pleaded that they are deeply concerned and aggrieved by the unduly and unjustifiably prolonged unlawful detention and repeated renewals thereof of the Indian fisherman and the prolonged period of under-trial Indian fishermen prisoners as well as prolong illegal custody and detention of the two minor teenagers Master Jeenti and Master Mahish, who were convicted on 21st April 2010, and failure and/ or refusal of the Respondents, particularly the Federal and Provincial Governments to expedite the trial of the said under-trial Indian fishermen and their failure to expedite deportation of the Indian fishermen who have completed their sentences, back to India, despite the consular access provided to them and confirmation by the High Commission of India about their Indian nationality, are without jurisdiction, or lawful authority and in violation of the Constitution and all applicable laws of Pakistan. Hence, it is imperative for the Petitioners to invoke the extra ordinary original human rights jurisdiction of this Hon’ble Court through this Petition.

The counsel for the petitioners Syed Iqbal Haider pleaded before the court that the impugned actions or inactions of the Respondents (Federal and provincial governments of Pakistan), being assailed through this petition, the arrest, prosecution, trial, conviction, subsequent detention, and renewals of detentions of the Indian fishermen, was done in accordance with law after fulfilling all the requirements under the law, particularly to those Indian fisherman. who had already completed the period of their sentences, are in gross violations of the Human/Fundamental rights, dignity and in violation of all laws and provisions of the Constitution particularly, inter alia, its Articles and fundamental rights guaranteed by its Articles 8, 9, 10, 10-A, 13, 24 & 25 and the relevant provisions of the applicable laws.

Copy of the petition containing all the detailed facts and legal grounds is [posted below] for your information, record and publication.

Text of Petition to Supreme court of Pakistan re Detention of Indian Fisherman