Discussion was opened after a list of the 33 prisoners was handed over to the prison’s authority a long time ago. “Negotiations with US military authorities in charge of Bagram prison are in progress to secure the freedom of 33 Pakistanis detained for several years,” the source said.
It is feared that the number of Pakistanis being held in the US military prison and other Afghan jails is higher than 33. However, through diplomatic channels, the ministry of foreign affairs has so far obtained information about 33 people.
The list included those seven Pakistanis who were abducted from Pakistan and taken to Bagram under mysterious circumstances in 2003.
“We are preparing some documents sought by US officials to establish the innocence of our citizens,” the source said. Interestingly, the American officials are also demanding a guarantee that the 33 prisoners will not be subjected to any interrogation once they return home.
About the nature of crime allegedly committed by the 33 prisoners, the official said that some of them are accused of being involved in objectionable activities. However, many of them were arrested merely on suspicion for having links with opposition forces of the US-backed Afghan regime.
A Pakistani contractor, Tariq Siddiqi, is among the detainees who were taken into custody in Kandahar on a complaint by his Afghan business rival. That Afghan implicated Siddiqi in anti-Afghanistan activities and accused him of maintaining close contacts with the Afghan Taliban in Kandahar.
Sultana Noon, a representative of a non-profit law firm Justice Project Pakistan and a fellow of the UK-based organisation, Reprieve, filed a petition with the Lahore High Court stating that seven people had been abducted from Pakistan and transferred to Bagram prison in 2003.
After hearing the petition, LHC directed the ministry of foreign affairs in March to write a letter to the US government seeking an explanation for the arrest of the seven people and their detention in Bagram prison.
The court further directed the ministry to ensure the freedom of detainees Awwal Khan, Hamidullah Khan, Abdul Haleem Saifullah, Fazal Karim, Amal Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed and Younas Rehmatullah.
The US and Afghanistan have signed an accord to transfer control of Bagram prison to the Afghan government. Under the agreement, Bagram prison, commonly called ‘Afghanistan’s Guantanamo Bay’ will be handed over to the Kabul appointed administrator within six months.