A foreign national has been languishing in jail for the past 15 years even though his sentence got over on July 17, 1997. Abdul Shareef was arrested for straying into the country without a valid passport through the Indo-Pak border.
Indian authorities had then identified Shareef as a Pakistani national and subjected him to a trial. But, now the government is unable to repatriate him in the wake of Pakistan’s claim that Shareef is an Iranian national.
Pained at his plight, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to file an affidavit explaining what efforts it took with the Iranian embassy to send Shareef back to Iran.
The direction came despite additional solicitor general PP Malhotra claiming that the Centre had communicated with the embassy over 10 months ago but there was no response.
The SC also told the Centre to expedite repatriation of 25 Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentence. “Even if we are able to save one life, we would think we have done our job,” the bench said.
With regard to Shareef's illegal detention, the bench observed: “In our view, this continued detention even in detention centre, when he has served the sentence way back on July 17, 1997, is not only improper but highly deplorable. All steps must be taken in getting his nationality established, so that he can be repatriated without any delay.”