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India, Pakistan to release 587 prisoners on Monday
September 11, 2005 21:14 IST
In one of the biggest such swaps in recent times, India and Pakistan will exchange 587 prisoners at the Wagah border on Monday.
Pakistani officials on Sunday shifted 435 Indian prisoners to Lahore to take them to nearby Wagah border on Monday to hand them over to the Indian officials. India would also free 152 civilian Pakistani prisoners.
The Indian prisoners being released included 379 fishermen who were caught along with their boats for allegedly entering Pakistani waters. Pakistan appeared firm in its decision not to release their boats as a step to deter them from entering into its waters.
The other 64 were civilian prisoners, mostly the victims of human traffickers and those who inadvertently crossed into the Pakistan border areas.
More prisoners' exchanges were expected to follow as both countries completed the formalities of identifying the nationality of the prisoners languishing in each others' jails.
Pakistan said in all, 611 Pakistanis were held in jails while India estimates that over 1,000 of its citizens are there in prisons in Pakistan.
While the two governments expedited the release of the prisoners following a recent agreement between the two foreign secretaries, the issue of Sarabjit Singh, sentenced to death for his alleged involvement in Lahore bomb blasts in 1990, continued to be focus of media attention on both sides of the borders.