The first meeting of the India-Pakistan Joint Judicial Committee on Prisoners was held in New Delhi on 26th February 2008. The Committee was formed in January 2007 by the External Affairs Minister of India and the Foreign Minister of Pakistan to recommend
steps for humane treatment and expeditious release of prisoners of the respective countries in each other's jails.
The members of the Committee are Justice (Retd) Mr. Nagendra Rai, Justice (Retd) Mr. Amarjeet Choudhary, Justice (Retd) Mr. A.S. Gill and Justice (Retd) Mr. M.A. Khan from the Indian side and Justice (Retd) Mr. Abdul Qadeer Chaudhary, Justice (Retd) Mr. Fazal
Karim, Justice (Retd) Mr. Nasir Aslam Zahid, and Justice (Retd) Mr. Mian Muhammad Ajmal from the Pakistan side.
The Committee recommended to the two Governments that:
- A consolidated list with full particulars and their present status of nationals in each others' jails be exchanged on 31st March 2008;
- Prisoners who have completed their sentences and whose national status has been verified be released forthwith;
- Special consideration, on compassionate and humanitarian basis, be accorded to women, juvenile and disabled prisoners for their repatriation;
- As agreed between the two Governments, those fishermen in custody whose nationality status is confirmed be released forthwith and in remaining cases, Consular Access be provided by 31st March 2008;
- All efforts be made to arrange early release of all those prisoners, accused or convicted of minor offences, once their nationality status is confirmed; and
- Each country may immediately notify the other of the arrest of its nationals and provide Consular Access expeditiously.
The Committee also agreed to visit jails in Pakistan in April 2008 on dates agreed through diplomatic channels. This would be followed by a return visit to Indian jails.