President of POK hosts lunch for visiting NPP Supremo in Islamabad

Sardar Mohd. Yaqoob Khan, President of Pakistan side of J&K hosted a grand lunch in honour of Prof.Bhim Singh, Supremo of National Panthers Party and Member of National Integration Council today. Leader of the opposition Mr. Farooq Haider, several ministers and dignitaries were also participated. The President of Pak-side of J&K while welcoming Prof.Bhim Singh admired his commitment, spirit of friendship and untiring efforts to work for peaceful resolution of the problems between India and Pakistan. The President, Sardar Mohd. Yaqoob Khan visited India in 2005 with POK delegation to participate in the Heart to Heart Talks. He had also visited in New Delhi on the invitation of Prof.Bhim Singh in 2007 with the delegation from Pakistan and POK. Sardar Mohd. Yaqoob Khan hoped that the new leadership of the two governments shall be able to launch initiative for peace between the two countries. He said that contribution made by Prof.Bhim Singh have been unimaginable and difficult yet Prof.Bhim Singh have contributed a lot to bring the people of J&K closer from both sides. Mr. Farooq Haider, Former Prime Minister of ‘AK’ & presently leader of the Opposition in ‘AK’ Assembly assured full cooperation to Prof.Bhim Singh in his efforts to rebuild the bridges of understanding between the sides of J&K so that the people of J&K could become bridges of peace between India and Pakistan.

Prof.Bhim Singh while responding to the great honour showered by the hosts assured that the people of India are as eager as the people of Pakistan to promote cordial relations and create an atmosphere of peace and friendship. Prof.Bhim Singh answered several questions on the plight of Pakistani prisoners in India, on the status of Indo-Pak ties as well as questions relating to UN Resolutions. Prof. Bhim Singh emphasized that the leadership from both the sides of J&K should be given an opportunity at least for two years to work out a peaceful, honourable and respectable resolution so that people of the two countries shall work together for international peace and domestic progress.

In the morning Prof.Bhim Singh was received by the Islamabad Lawyers Association at the headquarters of the Islamabad High Court. The President of the Bar Association, Mohd. Kiyani, described Prof.Bhim Singh as the light of the day towards a new era of peace and understanding between India and Pakistan. He said the entire people of Pakistan are feeling grateful to Prof.Bhim Singh who has been looking after the most complicated cases registered against the Pakistani nationals in different parts of India. He said hundreds of Pakistani prisoners were released by the Supreme Court of India only on the initiative of Prof.Bhim Singh. He assured that Islamabad Bar Association shall take up the mission with the same spirit to take up the cases of the Indian prisoners in Pakistan. Several Pakistani prisoners who were released by the Supreme Court of India on the petition of Prof.Bhim Singh presented flower bouquets to Prof. Bhim Singh in front of the Bar Association. One of the prisoners who was released by the Supreme Court after 12 years from Indian jail expressed his gratitude towards Prof.Bhim Singh saying, “Ey Insaan, Insaan Nahin, Farishta Hai, Jisne Sainkro Pakistani aur Kashmiri naujawano ko ye jindangi vapas di hai.”

Prof.Bhim Singh answered volley of questions of the advocates on Indo-Pak relations, new Modi government, condition of Pakistani prisoners in India, the importance of Article 370 and the rule of Panthers Party.

Mohd. Khan Mujar, General Secretary of the Bar Association read out a piece on Prof.Bhim Singh written by former Chief Justice of India, Shri P.N. Bhagwati that, “I have known Prof. Bhim Singh for a number of years as an indomitable crusader for truth and justice. He possesses rare courage and determination and wherever he is convinced of the truth of the cause espoused by him, he fights with great determination and vigour even at the cost of his personal safety and security”.

Hundreds of lawyers gave standing ovation to Prof.Bhim Singh when he concluded his address.

Punjab (Pakistan) Governor presents souvenir to Bhim Singh

Chaudhary Mohd. Sarwar, Governor of Punjab (Pakistan) received a delegation of Indo-Pakistan’s lawyers today at Raj Bhawan, Lahore. Chaudhary Mohd. Sarwar was first Muslim member in the House of Common in United Kingdom earlier. The Punjab Governor welcomed the initiative taken by Prof.Bhim Singh, Sr. Advocate in Supreme Court of India & Member of National Integration Council seeking release of nearly 500 Pakistani nationals languishing in the Indian jails. The Punjab Governor appreciated and admired the contributions made in the field of human rights while fighting for foreigners and in the Supreme Court. The Governor also presented a souvenir to Prof.Bhim Singh. Earlier Prof.Bhim Singh presented a latest edition of his book, ‘The Blunders & Way Out’ on J&K.
The other advocates of the Supreme Court of Pakistan who accompanied Prof.Bhim Singh included M/s. Zulfiqar Ali Jehangir, Shakeel Ahmed Awan, Rana Mohd. Qaisar. Prof.Bhim Singh is on his one-week visit to Pakistan on the invitation of Lawyers’ Congress, Lahore. He has also been invited by the District Bar Association, Mirpur and other districts.

Press Release

Mr. Naem Sarwar, Acting President of Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association in Lahore hosted a dinner in honour of Prof.Bhim Singh at Gymkhana Club, Lahore last evening. Mr. Sajjad Hassan Good Khan, Muslim League MP was as the special Guest on this occasion.  Several senior advocates and social activists were also present including Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Zehangir, Advocate & President of the Lawyers Congress, its Vice President, Mr. Shakeel Ahmed Awan, Advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan and Sr. Advocate Mr. Mohd Qaisar Amin Rana.

Prof. Bhim Singh, Sr. Advocate of Supreme Court of India and Member of National Integration Council (NIC) expressed thanks to the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association and its Acting President for the honour of the learned Advocates of Pakistan has showered. He hoped this shall be a great beginning to workout a coordination among the lawyers fraternity to build bridges of peace between two brotherly Nations; India and Pakistan which is universal voice of the people of the Countries. “Lawyers have a great role to play”. He said.

Prof. Bhim Singh pleaded that all foreign prisoners undergoing life sentence in India should be repatriated to their native country and vice versa. He also hoped that the trails of all prisoners should be concluded within a period of one year as has been ordered by the Supreme Court of India.

Mr. Naem Sarwar, Acting President of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association expressed gratitude for the work that Prof. Bhim Singh has been doing in the Supreme Court of India to seek justice for the Pak-prisoners languishing in the Indian jails at his own initiative and expense. He assured that the SCBA shall reciprocate by taking up the cause of Indian prisoners in Pak-jails.

Prof. Bhim Singh hoped that India shall reciprocate to good gesture of Pakistan Prime Minister, Mr. Nawaz Sharief by releasing Pak-prisoners in Indian jails who have completed their respective sentences and those convicted for life. Pak-fishermen deserve first attention.

Status Report on Pakistan nationals detained in Indian jails

Status Report on Pakistan nationals detained in Indian jails

(A)

1.         There are around 350 Pakistan national (prisoners) detained in different jails of India. State Legal Aid Committee which is headed by Prof.Bhim Singh has been fighting their cases in several courts in India, mostly in the Supreme Court of India for more than decade as Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

2.         The detention of these prisoners has been challenged under the mandate of Article 21 of the Constitution of India which ordains that no person shall be deprived of his life and liberty without the procedure established by law. The Supreme Court of India, in its several judgments has held that the procedure has to be fair and must stand the test of the principles of natural justice.

3.         The important point to understand is that this Article (21) is a fundamental right in the Constitution of India. It is available to any person irrespective of his nationality or citizenship. Prof.Bhim Singh has been agitating against the illegal, improper & unconstitutional detention/imprisonment of the foreign nationals detained in the Indian jails in violation the procedure established by law. The fundamental rights debars the Central (Federal) or a State government to detain a person without trial beyond a period of two years.

(B)

1.         There are different categories of foreign prisoners in India, most citizens of Pakistan & AK. Most of them have been languishing in the jails in different states detained under the Criminal Procedure Code or State’s Detention Law called Public Safety Act (PSA).

a).        The prisoners include those who crossed over from LoC (J&K) in the nineties and allegedly indulged in violence. This number may be around 300.

b).       There are some Pakistani prisoners who entered India with valid passports and visas but over stayed in India. This provides maximum imprisonment of five years.

c).        There are about five prisoners in Amritsar jail (India) who are deaf and dumb (goongas) whose nationality has not been identified for nearly a decade. The State Legal Aid Committee sent lawyers teams to several jails to inquire about the situation.

d).       There are about 30 mentally challenged prisoners languishing in Amritsar jail (India) for several years. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (Govt. of India) the nationality of these prisoners has not been identified. Prof.Bhim Singh had proposed that their photographs be taken and sent to Pakistan/AK for circulating through the media so that their relatives may come forward. Detention of these mentally challenged prisoners is utterly inhuman. The Supreme Court of India in its several directions in Prof.Bhim Singh’s writ petition no. 310/2005 had directed the Union and the State governments to keep such prisoners who had served out their respective sentences in jails in open accommodation (not in jails).

e).        The State Legal Aid Committee has not been able to monitor the implementation for the reason that the State Legal Aid Committee does not raise revenue nor it collects any contribution from any source though the committee is 37 years old registered society. It has been funded by Prof.Bhim Singh from his personal income.

f).        There are around 15 Pak nationals who have served 15 to 20 years sentence in different jails. They could not be released for the reason that they are serving life sentence. Life sentence, at the moment, has been interpreted by the court as sentence till death. Prof.Bhim Singh has challenged this new rule as violative of the fundamental rights. The Indian Penal Code has a different provision.

g).        There are several prisoners around 50 who have served out their respective sentences but they continue to be in jails for the reason that their nationalities have not been identified. Most of them hail from Pakistan or AK. The Supreme Court has issued strong notes in this regard. The intervention of the Supreme Court has earned maximum relief relating to repatriation of Pakistan nationals.

h).       There were some prisoners who had served detentions beyond the period of maximum sentence during the trial, more than each one of them would have served if he/she were awarded sentence. The Supreme Court of India gave a historic judgment directing the State to release all such prisoners (Pak nationals and other foreigners) as have completed a period of maximum sentence in jails that they would have been rewarded by the court in maximum. Nearly 50 Pak & AK prisoners got the benefit of this ruling.                        

(C)

1.     There is another category of Pakistani prisoners in India, which has been identified as fishermen. Though this was not the direct subject matter in writ petition moved by the State Legal Aid Committee, yet this matter was included. The situation of fishermen needs different measures to find out solution to this problem by both India and Pakistan.

2.         There is a judicial commission comprising of some judicial persons from both India and Pakistan. They have been meeting occasionally to sort out the problem. This problem needs a human settlement out of the box of the present legal system. It needs humanitarian approach and participation of lawyers’ fraternity from both sides. The Bar Associations of the High Courts and the Supreme Courts in India and Pakistan has a greater role and responsibility to ensure delivery of justice for the helpless prisoners from Pakistan in India and the prisoners of India in Pakistan.

3.         I have got a definite plan and strategy based on humanitarian angle and not on the political convenience or diplomatic strategy. That I shall discuss with my hosts, lawyers congress, representatives of the respective Bar Associations during my stay in Pakistan.

Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan welcomed Prof.Bhim Singh at Wagah

Several Executive Members of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association in Lahore welcomed Prof.Bhim Singh, Sr. Advocate & Chairman of Committee of International Affairs, Supreme Court Bar Association of India at International Border in Wagah.

          Prof.Bhim Singh attended several meetings with the Supreme Court & High Courts Bar Associations in Lahore. Several members of the families of Pak-prisoners in India also met Prof.Bhim Singh. Prof.Bhim Singh also addressed press conference at Lahore Press Club, Pakistan putting stress on the rule of the lawyers of India and Pakistan to ensure justice to the Indian prisoners in Pakistan and Pakistani prisoners in India.

 

Sd/-Zulfiqar Ali Jegangi,

President, Lahore Lawyers Congress