ISLAMABAD: As many as 17 prisoners languishing in Adiala jail for years will shortly be released. Informed sources told Dawn that Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah was given a briefing about these inmates — mostly from Bangladesh — on Thursday and policy guidelines were obtained.

As many as eight of them are believed to be from Bangladesh, four from India, two from Myanmar, and one each from United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dominican Republic and Tanzania.

The minister said that necessary steps may be undertaken to issue Alien Registration Cards (ARC) to individuals at the earliest and once the detention is over, their well being should be ensured through social welfare and health departments.

The meeting was told that ARCs have been prepared by National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) after obtaining biometric data of internees from inside the jail.

Under the decided framework, provincial governments, through their home department, social welfare department and health department will ensure that the internees are accommodated.

They have also been asked to engage NGOs if needed, for their rehabilitation out of jail.

For mentally challenged internees, safe and secure lodging will be provided with necessary rehabilitation facilities in the Punjab Institute of Mental Health (PIMH), Lahore.

The meeting took place a day before the meeting of the Federal Review Board (FRB) at Supreme Court.

The board in its last meeting on Sept 12 had noted that, a number of extensions were granted to the ministries concerned for making arrangements of deportation of the internees to their countries of origin but to no avail.

“This state of affairs is not appreciable. In this view of the matter, we are inclined to provide a last opportunity to the Secretary MoFA and Secretary Interior to come up with a positive response regarding the early deportation of the internees.

“If the ministries are unable to do the needful then the Secretary MoFA and Secretary Interior should appear in person on the next date of hearing on 23.09.2022,” the review board directive stated.

Two inter-ministerial/departmental meetings have been held between Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and provincial departments of the government of Punjab and Sindh onSept 14 and Sept 21 through video link.

Subsequent to these meetings, the secretary to prime minister held a meeting in the Prime Minister’s Office on Sept 21 with officials from both ministries. Necessary instructions have been obtained from the PM Office for facilitation of the internees.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2022

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