The details further showed that at least four of these Pakistani prisoners are deaf and mute and two are “mentally challenged”.
The issue of Pakistanis and Indians languishing in jails of India and Pakistan respectively is a sensitive one and the numbers are often in the hundreds. The MNA was, however, asking about one particular jail and the details confirmed what many had feared — that some of these Indians and Pakistanis in each others’ jails are mentally challenged and/or deaf and mute.
Details of the prisoners given by the ministry show the following:
- At least one is a woman, Fatima Bibi, jailed under India’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. She has been sentenced to 10 years and the detail also shows that she in fact gave birth to a child in the jail.
- One prisoner, Javed Iqbal (son of Muhammad Iqbal) is described as “abnormal”.
- There are two other female prisoners as well – one a resident of Gujranwala and another a resident of Lahore.
- Two prisoners — Muhammad Sadiq and Need Akhtar — are listed as being “mentally challenged”
- Four prisoners, whose antecedents are being verified by Pakistan’s Interior Ministry are listed as “dead and dumb” – in fact the pejorative descriptor “goonga” is used for three of them. The Ministry was unable to even list their names, presumably because the Indian authorities themselves are unable to ascertain this for themselves given the physical handicaps of the prisoners.
- The prison also houses Karachi resident Chanda Khan who was arrested some months ago at Amristar after she arrived from Pakistan without a valid visa. She said she was a big fan of Bollywood actor Salman Khan and wanted to meet him. Incidentally, the Foreign Ministry details list her husband as “Salman Khan”.