Nine hundred and twenty Pakistanis, including 132 fishermen and 18 missing defence personnel, are in Indian jails while 203 Indian nationals are currently in Pakistani jails, the ministry of foreign affairs told the Senate on Tuesday.
Of the Indian prisoners in Pakistan, 140 are fishermen while the record does not show any Indian defence official in Pakistani jails.
In a written response to a question by Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar, the foreign ministry said that India had released 240 Pakistani prisoners since 2008 while Pakistan had released 800.
In response to supplementary queries, the minister of state for foreign affairs Malik Amad Khan said that the term ‘missing armed forces personnel’ is used for those soldiers believed to be in Indian jails but whose presence had not been confirmed by India. These soldiers could not be traced following the 1965 and 1971 wars.
To a question he said that the release of prisoners is not something reciprocal but involves consular access, confirmation of national status and provision of travel documents.
Professor Khurshid Ahmed said that the flood monitoring system was outdated and there was no state-of-the-art monitoring system.
He also called for formation of an impartial commission to look into causes of flood devastation, adding that wrong decisions resulted in the loss of lives and property. He said the commission should fix responsibility for the devastation.
Opposing the imposition of new taxes, Professor Ahmed said that they would place more burden on the public. Senator Durrani also criticised the proposal and said that the government should cut the size of the cabinet in light of the 18th Amendment.
Senators also debated the lack of monitoring of substandard and contaminated food items and inefficient government machinery to check this public-interest issue.
(With additional input from APP)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2010.
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