India Tells Pakistan Court to Free Four Indians as Jail Terms Over, Hearing Today

The Indian High Commission in Pakistan has taken action, moving the Islamabad High Court to secure the release of four Indian nationals. Military courts convicted these individuals on charges of espionage and have remained imprisoned for an extended period, even after completing their sentences, with one case dating back more than 13 years.

Filed by First Secretary Aparna Ray, the Constitutional petition asserts that the continued incarceration of the four men is illegal and unjustified, contravening Pakistan’s laws and the directives of its superior courts.

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The petition, scheduled for hearing before Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, seeks their release in the interest of justice, fairness, and equality. It challenges the legality of their custody post-sentence completion, citing violations of Pakistan’s Constitution.

The respondents in the case are the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs of Pakistan.

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Identified in the petition are the four men: Birju Dung Dung, Vigyan Kumar, Satish Bhog, and Sonu Singh. Dung Dung’s sentence concluded in April 2007, Singh’s in March 2012, Kumar’s in June 2014, and Bhog’s in May 2015.

The petition, lodged under Article 199 of the Pakistan Constitution, contends that the prisoners were arrested, charged, and convicted by military courts under Section 59 of the Pakistan Army Act and provisions of its Official Secrets Act.

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Similar legal grounds were used against Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Naval official, who was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death in Pakistan. Jadhav’s case, like the others, involved military court proceedings conducted in secrecy.

The petition argues that the four men were innocent and victims of legal abuse from arrest to conviction. It emphasizes their right to life and liberty under Pakistan’s Constitution, alleging deprivation of legitimate rights due to extraneous considerations and hostility.

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Despite diplomatic efforts by the High Commission, including multiple diplomatic communications to Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, no progress has been made toward the release and repatriation of the four men.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad court is separately handling the Jadhav case, prompted by the International Court of Justice’s ruling mandating Pakistan to provide effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentence.

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India has insisted on appointing an Indian lawyer for Jadhav and demands unhindered consular access and access to case documents. Pakistan, however, maintains that Jadhav can only have a Pakistani lawyer.

According to Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Anurag Shrivastav, Pakistan has failed to address core issues concerning the Jadhav case, including providing relevant documents and ensuring unimpeded consular access.