ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday turned down a petition of the Indian High Commission seeking the release of Indian national Rafiq Jutt, who was arrested by Pakistan Army in 2008, and later tried and convicted for five years imprisonment in 2012.
IHC judge Aamer Farooq took up the petition and dismissed it terming it non-maintainable.
The India High Commission had moved the petition through Malik Shahnawaz and nominated the Federation of Pakistan through the secretary interior, the secretary defense, the home secretary Sindh and the secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs as respondents.
It was stated in the petition that the convict was a Muslim and an Indian citizen of the state of Gujarat who visited Pakistan on a valid visa in 2008 when the Pakistan Army apprehended him.
The petition said that after the arrest, Jutt was tried under Pakistan Army Act (PAA) section 59 of the Official Secret Act 1923. Jutt tried to prove his innocence before the court but he was convicted for five years rigorous imprisonment. He was kept in different jails and presently he was confined at the Central Jail Karachi.
It said that the sentence was awarded to him on March 8, 2012, that expired on March 7, 2017. Since Jutt has completed his sentence and now the authorities have no concerns with him and he may be released. The petitioner contended that Jutt was an Indian citizen and hence his matter directly comes under the Ministry of Interior Pakistan that has the authority to arrange the release of the convict by ordering the home secretary Sindh.
It argued that there were no other allegations against the convict and he could not be kept behind bars. The petitioner said that after completing the sentence, the convict was liable to be released but he has not yet been released.
The Indian High Commission adopted that during Jutt’s period of punishment only two opportunities were afforded to the high commission officials to meet the convict on June 1, 2012, and June 5, 2013.
It said that it forwarded many requests to the foreign affairs officials for the release of the convict on humanitarian grounds as he was also suffering from tuberculosis but no reply has been given.
The petitioner had prayed to the court to direct the respondents to arrange the release of Jutt, however, the court dismissed the plea.