Pakistan on Friday announced the release of 40 Indian prisoners, mostly fishermen, from a jail in Karachi, a day after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shook hands and exchanged pleasantries with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at the SAARC Summit.
“Pakistan is releasing 40 Indian prisoners (5 civil prisoners and 35 fishermen) tomorrow, who will be repatriated to India through Wagah. This will bring the total number of Indian prisoners released during this year to 191, which includes 6 civil prisoners and 185 fishermen,” a Pakistan Foreign Office statement said.
The 40 Indian prisoners lodged in district jail Malir in Karachi are being moved to Lahore for repatriation on Friday. “Our organisation is providing transport to take them to Wagah border with a packet containing clothes for their families and Rs 10,000 in cash to each of the released prisoners,” Anwar Kazmi, a spokesman of Edhi Foundation charity, informed. “The Indian prisoners released from Malir jail will arrive in Lahore today evening and spend night at Kot Lakhpat Jail. They will be handed over to the Indian authorities tomorrow,” a Pakistan Ranger’s spokesman said.
The release of the prisoners from Karachi’s district jail Malir comes a day after Prime Minister Modi and Sharif warmly shook hands and exchanged pleasantries at the 18th SAARC Summit in Nepal. The fishermen had been detained between one and three years. India and Pakistan regularly arrest fishermen who venture into unmarked territorial waters of the two countries.
Meanwhile, Pakistan government told the Parliament on Friday that it released 1,260 Indian prisoners during last three year. It Included 1,220 fishermen and 40 other prisoners. “On May 26, as a goodwill gesture, the Prime Minister of Pakistan had directed that 151 Indian prisoners be released,” the Foreign Office said. “Pakistan has always held that the issue of prisoners between the two 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,” it said.