SRINAGAR: The J&K high court has dismissed an appeal filed by the state government, seeking five years of punishment for a Pakistani who was actually arrested by it in 2006.
The Pakistani, Saqib Aziz Malik son of Abdul Aziz Malik of Multan, was convicted and sentenced for four years in jail by Principal Sessions Court Kupwara under section under section 14 of the Foreigners Act on 28 May 2012.
The court had also ordered that the period undergone by him shall be set off against the term of imprisonment and that he shall be repatriated.
Instead, the government on 18 October 2012 filed an appeal, urging the high court to award maximum punishment of five years as provided under section 14 of the Foreigners Act.
“In the admitted fact situation of this case, (Sakib) has remained in custody of the appellant (government) for more than five years,” a single bench Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar said and dismissed the government’s appeal.
The court ordered the dismissal of the government’s petition after government counsel admitted that at the time the appeal was filed, Sakib had already completed five years of imprisonment.
Advocate Mir Shafaqat, representing Sakib said that his client should be compensated for the ‘illegal detention’ by the government.
“In view of request made by (advocate Shafaqat), (Sakib) will at liberty to seek compensation or any other relief, if so advised,” the court said.
Police on 16 November 2006 had claimed to have arrested Sakib when he was roaming near Batergam Kupwara and that on his identification an Ak-57 and 25 cartridges were recovered from him. However, Sakib had denied it and told the court during the trial that he had come to meet his friend at a place known as Patika in Pakistan, near line of control, where he was captured by Indian forces and taken to Kupwara.
After hearing Sakib and the prosecution, the trial court had ruled that it would be wrong to say that any material was recovered from him. Meanwhile, the high court also directed the government to take immediate steps for deportation of Sakib to Pakistan in accordance of law.