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India ready to release over 100 Pak prisoners: Burney
April 08, 2008 21:19 IST
India is ready to release more than 100 Pakistanis lodged in prisons unilaterally, Pakistani human rights campaigner Ansar Burney said on Monday.
He told reporters after meeting foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon that he would try to persuade Pakistan government to release Indian prisoners reciprocating New Delhi's good gesture.
"The foreign secretary told me that India is ready to release over 100 Pakistani prisoners,'' said the former Pakistan minister who was recently instrumental in securing release of Indian prisoner Kashmir Singh from a Pakistani jail.
Burney, who was provided with a list of Pakistani prisoners India is ready to release, said he would look for their relatives when he returns to his home country.
"One problem that we encounter is their antecedents. If the Pakistan High Commission says they are not Pakistanis, that is a problem. So I want to find their relatives and ascertain their nationality,'' he said.
He expressed hope that this "good message" from New Delhi will bring more good news from across the border and help bring back smiles on the faces of numerous affected. "This is a day of Eid for many in Pakistan.''
Asked whether India raised the issue of reciprocity from Pakistan on the matter, he said, "It was a magnanimous gesture from Indian side that they did not raise such matters. I will tell Pakistani authorities that India has shown a big brotherly gesture and let us show small brotherly gesture.''
Burney also met Home Minister Shivraj Patil and NHRC Chairperson Justice Rajendra Babu to discuss the issue of prisoners.
Asked about the release of Sarabjit Singh, who is on a death row in Pakistani jail, he said he did not raise the issue during his meetings.Sarabjit, convicted in connection with bomb blasts in Lahore, has been sentenced to death. He was to be hanged on April one but it was postponed by a month after India made an appeal for clemency on "humanitarian grounds".