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Who is a spy? India, Pak will discuss
Aasha Khosa in New Delhi | October 18, 2007 03:09 IST
Last Updated: October 18, 2007 08:27 IST
Indians and Pakistanis who inadvertently cross into each other's territory may no longer be treated as spies and incarcerated as the two South Asian neighbours are likely to sign an agreement that takes a humanitarian view of this recurring problem.
The agreement, which is likely to be signed during a day-long expert-level talks between the Indian and Pakistani officials in New Delhi, seeks the release of border-crossers within 36 hours. The agreement seeks to touch the lives of the common man living in border villages.
Though no statistics are available as most of the people who mistakenly cross into each others territory from the frontline villages are currently treated as spies and sent to jail, human rights groups have been claiming that hundreds of people have landed in each other's jails for their "folly of not being able to see the border line".
The Indian group would be led by TCA Raghavan, joint secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, and the Pakistani one by Aizaz Ahmed Choudhary, director general, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The expert group would review the pace of confidence building measures (CBMs) initiated between India and Pakistan and also explore possibilities of more confidence building measures, officials sources said.
The border-crossers agreement has been discussed threadbare by the officials from the two countries in previous meetings.
Officials said the border-crossers agreement would create a mechanism wherein the border security forces of India and Pakistan would be able to repatriate the inadvertent crossers from the local field positions within 36 hours.
A second agreement would create similar redress mechanism for the people who stray into the others' seas during fishing
On October 22, a meeting between Indian and Pakistani officials on the joint anti-terror mechanism will be held. This would be followed by another round of meeting from India and Pakistan on the nuclear CBMs on November 19, officials in the external affairs ministry said.
In the October meeting, India would provide fresh evidence of involvement of Pakistani terror networks in the low-key blasts in Ajmer and Ludhiana recently, home ministry sources said.
Islamabad, is likely to seek record of Indian efforts in unmasking the real culprits in the Samjhauta express blast, which killed 68 people, majority of them Pakistanis, in February.