LAHORE, Nov 2: The Lahore High Court chief justice on Wednesday directed foreign ministry to expedite the process of repatriation of foreign prisoners languishing in jails of the province despite completion of their terms.

The chief justice issued this direction while disposing a writ petition seeking release of Indian prisoners -- Satinder Pal Singh and Karale Bhanudas -- confined in Kot Lakhpat Jail.

Earlier, the Punjab home department, in compliance of the court orders, submitted a list of foreign nationals imprisoned in the jails of the province. The report revealed that 74 foreign nationals were detained in four Punjab jails.

According to the report, Lahore central jail had 56 such inmates, Rawalpindi central jail 16 and Kasur district jail and Dera Ghazi Khan Jail had one each.

Representing the foreign ministry, a deputy attorney general, Shaista Qaiser, undertook before the court that the ministry would do the needful for repatriation of foreign prisoners to the countries of their origin if it was provided the list of those languishing in jails even after completion of their terms.

The CJ asked the home department to hand over the list to the foreign ministry and directed the ministry to take speedy steps to repatriate these foreign prisoners. With these directions the CJ disposed of the petition and asked the petitioner to also make efforts for the release of Pakistanis detained in Indian jails.

Advocate Awais Sheikh filed the petition and stated that both Indian prisoners completed their terms of imprisonment but they were not being released due to non-availability of proofs regarding their identification.

The petitioner said proof of identification had been provided to the Foreign Office and Indian High Commission had also verified the same. But, he alleged, the Pakistani government was not taking any action for their release so far. He prayed to the court to direct the government for release of both Indian prisoners.

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