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India to release 40 Pak prisoners on Saturday

Source: PTI
June 29, 2007 22:02 IST
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As a confidence building measure ahead of the Indo-Pak Home Secretary level talks next week, India on Friday decided to release 40 Pakistani prisoners on Saturday.

Official sources said the prisoners, including 10 fishermen, will be handed over to Pakistani authorities at the Attari-Wagah border.

They said New Delhi was awaiting the confirmation of the nationality of 48 other fishermen, who would be repatriated immediately after their identity was established.

India was committed to early release and repatriation of all those Pakistani nationals who have completed their prison term, they added.

Home Secretaries of India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet in New Delhi on July 3 and 4.

India and Pakistan have released many prisoners in the last four years.

In 2003, India released 20 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 93 fishermen while Pakistan released 38 Indian civilian prisoners and 623 fishermen.

India also returned the body of one Pakistani prisoner who had died in jail.

In 2004, India released 58 Pakistani civilian prisoners while Pakistan released 37 Indian civilian prisoners.

Likewise, in 2005, India released 159 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 222 fishermen while Pakistan released 125 Indian civilian prisoners and 1,171 fishermen.

In 2006, India released 61 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 59 fishermen while Pakistan has released 19 Indian civilian prisoners and 93 fishermen.

At the last Home Secretary-level talks in Islamabad in May last year, the two countries had reached an understanding under which both sides agreed to expedite release of fishermen and civilian prisoners.

As many as 492 Indian fishermen are at present in Pakistan's custody.

The matter was also raised at the Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary level talks in New Delhi in November last year.

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