Saturday, August 17, 2013

Amid LoC skirmishes: Pakistan to release 367 Indians on Aug 24 - The Express Tribune

Foreig­n Office descri­bes move as a goodwi­ll gestur­e.

Foreign Office describes move as a goodwill gesture. PHOTO: FILE


In an attempt to defuse the recent tension with India over the Line of Control (LoC) skirmishes, Pakistan has decided to release more than 300 Indians detained in Pakistani jails as an act of goodwill.

The exact number of Indians to be released on August 24 is 367. Of these prisoners many are fisherfolk and ordinary civilians, said diplomatic sources.

Both countries have been blaming each other for resorting to cross-border firing in violation of the ceasefire agreement and killing each other's soldiers and civilians for the past two weeks. Since then, efforts are also being made from both sides to normalise the situation.

"The prisoners' release will be a goodwill gesture from Pakistan's side and an initiative to ease tensions," said a Foreign Office (FO) official. He did not give any  breakdown though.

Pakistan was earlier considering releasing 73 Indian fishermen as part of Consular Access agreement between the two countries. Under the agreement, authorities in both countries have to submit a list of prisoners to each other's high commissions in their respective capitals on January 1 and July 1 each year.

Pakistan's foreign minister told National Assembly on Friday that 99 Pakistanis detained in Indian prisons according to FO's data were missing from the list India provided recently to Pakistan's High Commission in Delhi.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2013.

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