India frees 28 Pakistani prisoners as goodwill gesture


Attari Border (Punjab) : In a goodwill gesture coinciding with the Islamic holy month of ‘Ramadan’, India Wednesday released 28 Pakistani prisoners at the Attari-Wagah border between the two countries.

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The Pakistanis were brought here by police from jails across India. They were released after all formalities were completed.

The prisoners were visibly happy to be returning to their homes.

“I am delighted that I am going back,” said a beaming Mohammed Haji Iqbal, who was arrested in Mumbai in 1999 for aiding a bank robbery in Borivali.

The money looted from the bank was used later to fund the conspiracy by terrorists who hijacked the Kathmandu-Delhi Indian Airlines flight IC-814 to Kandahar in Afghanistan in December 1999.

Iqbal was lodged at the Nashik prison for eight years. His prison term ended February 2008.

The prisoners released were from Amritsar (11), Jammu (8), Delhi (4), Mumbai/Nashik (3) and Rajasthan (2).

“I am happy. We want the governments of both countries to initiate steps so that prisoners who have completed their terms are sent back,” said Mukhtiar Ahmed Kasur town near Lahore.

Ahmed spent 21 years in prisons in India after his arrest in December 1989 near the India-Pakistan border in Amritsar district.

He was charged with espionage and possessing drugs.

Even though his sentence ended in 1997, his release took time because authorities in Pakistan initially did not own him as a Pakistani national.