Indian authorities handed over four Pakistani prisoners to paramilitary Rangers at the Wagah Border “as a goodwill gesture” on Wednesday.
The prisoners – who had been held in various jails across the Indian state of Gujarat, belong to a Hindu community in interior Sindh. One of them is said to be mentally disturbed because of the torture he was subjected to in the Indian person.
These prisoners had mistakenly entered India from the Sindh border. Of the four, one was arrested in 2001 while the other three were arrested in 2008.
On Friday, India had agreed to release the detained Pakistanis on the eve of talks between the interior ministers of the two countries. Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram “as a gesture of goodwill” had approved their release before he arrived in Islamabad for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ministerial conference. Last week, 17 Indian prisoners, who were serving sentence in various prisons across Pakistan, were handed over to Indian authorities. The prisoners were arrested for overstaying, for not having proper documentation and for crossing the border illegally.
Hundreds of Indians and Pakistanis are languishing in prisons on both sides of the border on different charges.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2010.
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