LAHORE – The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday expressed displeasure over poor performance of Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding concrete steps for repatriation of 37 Pakistani nationals detained in Bagram prison of Afghanistan by the US forces.
The ministry’s reply claimed that instead of 33 Pakistanis, two nationals Muhamamd Tayyeb and Muhammad Tairq had been released from the Bagram jail. The reply said the ministry was trying its best for repatriation of Pakistanis.
“The ministry and Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul has written dozens of letters to the US for release of the Pakistanis, but in vain. However, the government is doing its best,” the reply added.
Barrister Sarah submitted a draft of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which ensured that both the US and Pakistan governments agreed to securely transfer the Pakistani detainees back to Pakistan through a peaceful and diplomatic approach. She contended that without necessary steps suggested in the MoU the detainees would remain in legal limbo.
She added a similar MoU had been signed between Afghanistan and the US transferring the custody of over 3,000 Afghan detainees. She submitted it would be deplorable if the Pakistan government could not get this MoU signed for the 37 Pakistanis, illegally detained by US forces.
“The next few months are critical to ensure Pakistani citizens are not left in indefinite detention in the legal black hole of Bagram. Yet the government, which is supposed to defend its citizens, is instead wasting time by filing meaningless reports and failing to make real progress,” she said and requested the court to take notice of government’s inefficiency.
At this, Justice Khan expressed displeasure on the ministry and observed the court was noticing the meaningless replies and reports by the ministry.
The judge remarked: “We are slave citizens of a salved country. Every child of Pakistan is debtor of Rs70,000 of foreign countries. So, how can we speak bravely before our master?”
The court once again ordered the ministry to take concrete measures for repatriation of detained Pakistanis. The court will resume hearing on October 16.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has been urged to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and the ministry’s secretary for giving briefing to UN Commission on missing persons. Advocate Sarafaraz Hussain filed the petition and stated that the matter of missing persons was pending before the apex court.