LAHORE – The Lahore High Court on Wednesday ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask the United States of America under what capacity it has detained seven Pakistanis at Afghanistan’s Bagram Airbase.

Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan also expressed displeasure over the performance of the ministry during the hearing of a petition seeking release and repatriation of the Pakistani citizens. The standing counsel Karamat Ali Awan informed the court that the government was trying to contact the US officials at Bagram Airbase and that a three-member committee has also been formed for the release of the Pakistanis.

Whey asked by the judge to show him any letter or report of the ministry written to the US or the administration of the airbase, the standing counsel replied he did not have one. The court then directed the standing counsel to make sure the court orders were implemented. The court also ordered the ministry to submit a comprehensive report till April 25. A non-profit law firm, Justice Project Pakistan, a fellow of Reprieve (a UK-based organization) in Pakistan, through its representative Sultana Noon has filed this petition.

Petitioner’s counsel Sarah Belal submitted that seven Pakistanis had been detained at Bagram Theatre Internment Camp in Afghanistan without any charge or trial since 2003. She alleged that they were abducted from Pakistan and detained at the prison in Afghanistan. The Pakistanis are Awwal Khan, Hamidullah Khan, Abdul Haleem Saifullah, Fazal Karim, Amal Khan, Iftikhar Ahmad and Younas Rehmatullah.

The counsel said all seven citizens were being held without access to lawyers and without having been informed of the evidence against them. One prisoner was merely 16 years of age and was seized two years ago at the age of 14. Another was not permitted to speak to his family for six years, she added.