LAHORE: In a display of goodwill, India on Wednesday handed over 25 prisoners including five fishermen to Pakistan at the Wagah border. The Indian government had released 31 Pakistani nationals from its jails on Tuesday.
The total number of Pakistani's released from Indian jails included seven fishermen and 24 civilians who had been held in Indian jails despite having completed their jail terms. Sources said more than 150 Pakistani fishermen and at least 500 civilians are still languishing in Indian prisons.
This exchange comes in response to Pakistan releasing 442 Indian fishermen from jails over the last month. Indian Congress President Sonia Gandhi had also conveyed her gratitude to Pakistan’s civil society delegation who had worked for the release of Indian fishermen in Pakistani jails.
Efforts for further exchanges of detained fishermen are being led by a delegation of Pakistani and Indian civil society leaders. However, 58 prisoners whose sentences have ended are currently in a diplomatic limbo, as their nationalities have yet to be verified by the Pakistan government. The Pakistani Interior Ministry’s slow response to the request for verification of the nationality of the detained fishermen has subjected the 58 Pakistani prisoners to several months of ordeal and torment.
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