ISLAMABAD: Indian citizens detained in terrorism and espionage cases should be sent back to their country if they have served their entire sentences, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) said Wednesday.

In a hearing over petitions submitted by eight Indian citizens for their release, a representative of the Ministry of Interior submitted a report on the matter to IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah.

One of the deputy attorney-generals of Pakistan, Syed Muhammad Tayyab Shah, informed the court on behalf of the federal government that Pakistan had on October 26, 2020, released five convicted Indian prisoners on the completion of their sentences and sent them back to their homeland.

A legal representative of the Indian High Commission told the court that one of the Indian nationals, who did not want to return despite having completed his sentence, had been deported. Three more citizens were incarcerated despite having served their sentences, the counsel added.

To which, Shah said he would respond to the matter after obtaining instructions to the extent of the three Indian prisoners.

The case of some prisoners is with the review board, he added, to which Justice Minallah angrily remarked: “How can you keep them any longer when their sentence is completed?

“Where did the review board come from,” he asked. “If the sentence is complete, send them back.”

The IHC disposed of a combined petition seeking the release of four Indian citizens, whereas one of the individual petitions was related to the man who was deported and rest pertaining to those currently in jail.

The court set the next hearing for November 5.

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