7 Nepalese released from Peshawar prison

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 Ghulam Dastageer PESHAWAR:
Authorities of the Peshawar Central Prison Monday handed over seven Nepalese to a non-governmental organisation to deport them to their home country as all of them completed their jail term awarded by the political administration of Khyber Agency. The released Nepalese are Chandra Bahadar Tamang, Soba Bahadar Tamang, Prame Tamang, Teetar Bahadar Tamang, Shiam Lal, Badanman Tamang and Dave Prasad, who were charged under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act by the political administration of Khyber Agency. The Nepalese, who were apparently cheated by a group of human smugglers, included five juveniles who were arrested by the political authorities in Landikotal, Khyber Agency, on July 7 when they were crossing Torkham Border without having valid visas and travelling documents. They had reportedly come to Pakistan through India on valid visas and travelling documents. The assistant political agent of Landikotal charged the detainees under sections 3 and 14 of Foreigners Act and sections 11/40 of Frontier Crimes Regulation and shifted them to Peshawar prison on July 7. On this, the Nepalese moved the Peshawar High Court, challenging their detention under Section 40 of the FCR, stating that FCR deals only with the tribepersons, thus not applicable on foreigners. They said they had been deprived of their inalienable right of liberty and had been living miserable life in the prison without commission of any offence.When the Chief Justice of PHC Tariq Pervez Khan, took up the case on October 21, he directed the Landikotal assistant political agent to clear his position in the case who could not justify the arrest of a foreigner under FCR. Landikotal Assistant Political Agent Fazl Tawab stated that the petitioners were arrested for illegally entering Khyber Agency.He stated that they had been charged under section 11 and 40 of the FCR and section 14 of the Foreigners Act. The APA stated that proceedings had already been started in their case and their trial would conclude in near future.“No foreigner can enter the tribal area without getting prior permission from the government and the persons in question had violated the law by entering the tribal agency without valid travel documents,” the APA added. Representing the petitioners before the PHC, Nasruminallah from the Voice of Prisoners and Imaduddin from Dost Welfare Foundation contended that being foreigners Nepalese could not be detained under Section 40 of the FCR. The APA, however, following the directives of the PHC withdrew charges against the foreigners under the FCR. The court also directed the APA to decide the case within 10 days. Besides, it directed the petitioners that in case their trial could not be concluded in the said period they should again move the high court. However, the Landikotal APA decided the case and awarded them four months sentence each under the Foreigners Act. The prison authorities handed over the Nepalese to the Dost Welfare Foundation after completion of their jail term, which after arranging tickets and travelling documents will deport them to Nepal from Peshawar Airport today (Tuesday).