Pakistan regrets death of Khalid Mehmood in Indian custody: FO


Islamabad : Pakistan Wednesday expressed deep shock and anger over the death of a Pakistani prisoner in India in mysterious circumstances and asked the Indian government to specify the charges under which the deceased was detained.

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“We are in contact with the Government of India and have asked them to specify the charges under the which the deceased was detained, explain the circumstances of his death and provide any other relevant information,” said Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq in his weekly briefing.

He said that it is regrettable that India did not inform Pakistan’s High Commission in India about the arrest of the deceased Khalid Mehmood as required under the international diplomatic norms in such cases.

The spokesman said the Indian authorities did not provide consular access to the High Commission during the custody of late Khalid Mehmood.

He said the High Commission was only informed about the death of Khalid Mehmood on February 13, 2008 by the Indian authorities.

The spokesman said as soon as the matter was reported to Pakistan’s High Commission, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs was asked to have the matter thoroughly investigated and to share the outcome and medical report with the Mission.

He said the incident has dampened the goodwill generated by the recent release of the Indian prisoner, Kashmir Singh, and has also negated the spirit of the recent Pak-India agreement on the establishment of a Judicial Committee on Prisoners.

“We remind the Indian authorities of their obligation to ensure humane treatment of all Pakistani prisoners in their custody,” said the spokesman.

He said, “Our efforts for early repatriation of Pakistani prisoners will continue.”

The spokesman said Pakistan will take further action on the issue of death of Khalid Mehmood in Indian custody after getting details from New Delhi.

He however said that Pak-India peace process would continue despite this incident.

Answering a question, the spokesman said, Pakistan has not handed over any prisoner to U.S. for Guantanamobay.

Regarding use of ordinary number plates by the diplomats in Islamabad, the spokesman said, Foreign Office has not issued any instruction in this regard.

He however said that Foreign Office is not aware that diplomats are using private number plates on their cars adding that some people are using such plates but it is the practice every where.

Answering a question about the proposals from U.S. the spokesman said Pakistan will not accept any proposal from any foreign government, not consistent with its national interest.

“Nothing is accepted that is not consistent with our national interest and impinges upon our sovereignty,” the spokesman said.

He said, “Foreign governments make proposals from time to time to secure facilities and privileges for their personnel in the event of temporary assignment or transit.”
“Only those proposals are considered that are in line with our domestic laws and international instruments such as the Vienna Conventions on Privileges and Immunities,” the spokesman said.

Answering a question, about Pakistanis held in Iran, he said 23 out of 36 have reached Pakistan and Pakistan has conveyed the names of the remaining 13 persons to the Iranian Foreign Ministry yesterday.

He said the Foreign Office continues to be in touch with the Iranian Embassy in Islamabad and Iranian authorities in Tehran and Zahidan on the issue.

The spokesman expressed the hope that the remaining Pakistanis illegally held in Iran will return to their families in the shortest possible time.

He told a questioner that best efforts are being made to locate and recover the missing Pakistani ambassador Tariq Azizuddin.

The spokesman said Pakistan is committed to Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline from Iran to meet its energy needs and would welcome Chinese participation in the project.