Pakistan demands release of its prisoners in India

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Islamabad, Feb 22 (IANS) Pakistan Saturday demanded the release on humanitarian grounds of all its prisoners who have completed their sentences.

The demand came after a Pakistani prisoner was found hanging Saturday morning inside the Amphalla district jail in Jammu.

K. Rajendra Kumar, director general prisons, told reporters that the body of Showkat Ali, son of Barkat Ali, a resident of Pind Sail Jathan in Sialkot Pakistan, was found hanging from the iron window of a barrack toilet inside the prison.

According to Indian authorities, Ali, 42, was arrested in Jammu in February 2011 after he crossed over from the international border. But a report in Pakistan’s Dawn online said he has been in the jail since December 2011.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir contacted Indian authorities to get a detailed report about the death of the prisoner.

“Yes, I heard about this incident through media and we are now in contact with Indian authorities to get more details,” Bashir told Dawn.

Foreign Office spokesman Tasneem Aslam said that Islamabad has demanded that all of its prisoners who have completed their sentences should be released on humanitarian grounds.

“We have asked our high commission in India to furnish us with more details about the incident,” the spokesperson said.

Aslam expressed concern over the plight of Pakistani prisoners in India and claimed that they face so much pressure that either they lose their senses or commit suicide.

According to Pakistani diplomats based in New Delhi, Indian officials assured them that the incident would be investigated by a magistrate and, after the completion of legal formalities, the body would be handed over to Pakistan.

Ali was reportedly suffering from some mental ailment and was lodged in the jail following court orders.

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