On the request of the Indian Border Security Force, Punjab Rangers have decided to discontinue the aggressive marching approach during the flag march ceremony at the Wagah Border. This was announced at the Rangers headquarters on Saturday.
During a strategic meeting between top officials of the border forces of the two countries, discussions were also held on cross-border firing incidents.
Director-General of Punjab Rangers Major-General Muhammad Yaqoob Ali Khan and Director-General of India’s BSF Raman Shrivastav also decided to take steps to free prisoners. They agreed to urge their respective governments to release fishermen held by both sides after minimum detention and paperwork.
BSF director-general Shrivastava, heading a 19-member delegation, was in Lahore for the strategic meeting.
“We will also share lists of foreign prisoners in Indian and Pakistani jails to provide relief to them through respective foreign ministries,” he said.
“We have proposed that firing could only be opened by security forces on either side inside their own territory, instead of attacking the border posts or villagers across the border,” he was quoted as saying by IANS news agency.
Shrivastava said that fishermen found to be violating the maritime borders were taken into custody. “Once they are arrested, the process of law has to take its course,” he said, adding, “Usually they don’t have proper documentation.”
Referring to cross-border smuggling, he said: “Fake Indian currency and narcotics were being smuggled from Pakistan. We have brought this to the notice of the Pakistani authorities. He said that smugglers had contacts on both sides and security agencies are trying to devise a joint mechanism to eliminate illegal trade. Indian liquor is being smuggled into Pakistan in huge quantities unchecked.”
(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM ONLINE)
Published in The Express Tribune October 31st, 2010.