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India to release 26 Pakistani civil prisoners
November 09, 2005 16:17 IST
India will release 26 more Pakistani civil prisoners, lodged in jails in various states, on November 18, officials said in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has verified the nationality of these prisoners and they have completed their sentences. The officials said the states had been advised to bring them to the Wagah border for handing them over to Pakistani authorities.
The 26 prisoners include two each from Delhi and Punjab, 11 from Gujarat, one each from Haryana, Maharashtra and Nagaland, five from Rajasthan and three from Jammu and Kashmir.
The decision to release the civilian prisoners follows the agreement between India and Pakistan during the second round of Home Secretary-level talks on terrorism and drug trafficking held in New Delhi on August 29-30 as part of the ongoing Composite Dialogue process between the two countries.
During these talks, it was agreed to provide consular access to all persons within three months of arrest and release prisoners immediately after completion of sentence and nationality verification.
They had also agreed to release all fishermen and civilian prisoners who have completed their sentence and whose national status has been confirmed.
In pursuance of this decision, the Government of India had released 97 Pakistani civil prisoners and 51 fishermen on September 12 across the Wagah Border.
On the same day, the Pakistan government repatriated 371 Indian fishermen and 64 Indian prisoners lodged in various jails of Pakistan, to India.
''This repatriation of prisoners across the borders has generated goodwill on both sides,'' the officials added.