Denied permission to meet Sarabjit Singh, an Indian prisoner on death row in Pakistan, his lawyer Awais Sheikh has filed a writ petition in Lahore High Court, urging the judiciary to direct the Home Secretary and IG Prisons to allow him to meet Singh, who is currently lodged in Central Lahore Jail.
Swapan Deep Kaur, daughter of Sarabjit Singh, said that Sheikh had filed an application with the Home Department of the Government of Punjab, Pakistan, seeking permission to meet Sarabjit Singh, to deliver his family’s messages and certain goods for personal use sent by his family. “However, his application had been rejected, where after he has filed a writ petition in the Lahore High Court,” she said.
In the writ petition, Sheikh has cited a court order by which he has been meeting Sarabjit Singh in jail for the past three years, and in the presence of the standing court order, has termed the rejection of application for meeting Singh as ‘illegal, unlawful and amounting to contempt of court’.
Sheikh has further stated in the writ petition that the Article 199 (1) (a) (1) of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973, directs government functionary to refrain from doing anything that he or she is not permitted to do or not to do anything he or she is required by law to do. He further stated that the Chapter 5 of Jail Rules 92, 543, 544 also allows meeting prisoner in jail by his lawyer, friends and relatives.
“Sheikh has stated in the petition that he had met his family in India and urgently needed to meet him to convey their messages, deliver certain eatables and get his signature on the fresh mercy petition to be submitted to the President of Pakistan,” said Swapan Deep.
She added that the home department, Government of Punjab, Pakistan, had denied permission to Awais Sheikh to meet Sarabjit Singh on the grounds that the delivery of the messages of the family of the prisoner and goods for personal use of the inmate are not covered under Rules 543 and 545 of Pakistan Prison Rules 1978, governing interview of a counsel with a prisoner. “The letter further stated that the Rules ibid envisage meeting of a counsel with an inmate to extend legal help in judicial matters, which in the instant matter is not the case,” she said.