India releases 9 Pakistani prisoners

By Aslam Chandio,,

Islamabad: India on Friday released nine Pakistani prisoners, out of which five are fishermen and four of them are civilians, Spokesperson of the Foreign office, Tasneem Aslam said in a statement.

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The FO Spokesperson said, “There are 474 Pakistani prisoners (346 civilian and 131 fishermen) still remain lodged in Indian jails. Out of these, 22 civil prisoners have completed their sentence and await repatriation.”

Earlier on May 26, 2014 Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif had issued directives to release 151 Indian prisoners (150 fishermen and 1 civilian) as a goodwill gesture a day ahead of his visit to New Delhi.

Tasneem Aslam said, “Presently, 296 Indian nationals are detained in Pakistan, out of which 47 are civilian and 249 are fishermen.”

The FO Spokesperson remarked, “Pakistan has always held that the issue of prisoners in our respective countries is a humanitarian one and should be taken in that spirit. It is our hope that the Government of India would release all Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentences”.

Earlier on Tuesday, the governments of Pakistan and India had exchanged lists of prisoners lodged in each other’s respective prisons. Lists are exchanged under the Consular Agreement signed between the two countries in May 2008. The lists of prisoners are to be exchanged twice a year, on January 1 and July 1 respectively.

Earlier on May 30 this year, India had released 37 Pakistani prisoners, out of which 32 were fishermen and five of them were civilians.

(Aslam Chandio is an Islamabad based journalist. He tweets at @aslamchandio_ )