20 Indian prisoners in Lahore jail mentally ill: Judicial panel

Sarabjit SinghTwenty out of 36 Indian prisoners lodged in Kot Lakhpat jail, where Sarabjit was fatally attacked, have lost their mental balance. (PTI)

Twenty out of 36 Indian prisoners lodged in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail, where Sarabjit Singh was fatally attacked, have lost their mental balance and not been taken to any hospital for proper medical care, an India-Pakistan judicial panel has found.

The India-Pakistan Judicial Committee on Prisoners, which visited Pakistani jails in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore last week, has found that 20 prisoners in Kot Lakhpat jail, two prisoners in Rawalpindi's Adiyala jail and one prisoner in Malir jail in Karachi were mentally ill. Click here to read: Pak govt killed Sarabjit, alleges his former jail inmate

The Committee has recommended that serious and terminally ill, mentally challenged and deaf and mute prisoners be kept in appropriate hospitals or special institutions irrespective of confirmation of their national status and offence.

As many as 535 Indian prisoners, including 483 fishermen (11 of them juveniles) and eight civil prisoners at District Jail Malir, Karachi, besides eight prisoners at Adiyala jail and 36 prisoners at Kot Lakhpat jail were presented before the Committee.

The Committee, formed in January 2007 as part of an agreement between the two countries, comprised Justices (Retd) A S Gill M A Khan from the Indian side, and Justices (Retd) Abdul Qadir Chaudhry, Nasir Aslam Zahid and Mian Muhammad Ajmal from the Pakistani side.

The Committee recommended that a mechanism should be developed for compassionate and humanitarian consideration for women, juveniles, mentally challenged, old aged and prisoners suffering from serious illnesses or permanent physical disabilities.

Besides, Indian prisoners, like Pakistani prisoners in Karachi jail, should be allowed to make phone calls to their relatives in India at least once a month.

The Committee noted that names of several prisoners had been dropped from the successive lists of prisoners, believed to be Indian, shared by Pakistan twice every year.

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