156 Pakistani, Indian prisoners to be repatriated on April 14


ISLAMABAD – In a breakthrough development in Indo-Pak relations, around 156 prisoners languishing in various jails of both countries will cross the border into their own countries on April 14 after serving their sentences and their national status is confirmed.
According to a senior government official, the release of 156 prisoners (85 Indians and 71 Pakistanis) was the outcome of “successful” Pak-India secretary-level talks held in New Delhi on March 28-29. He said travel documents of all the prisoners, civil and fishermen, were in the process of completion.
The official said that in the secretary-level talks, Indian authorities had agreed to set two days (April 4 and April 5) for counselor access to Pakistani prisoners in Jaypur and Teharr jails. He said further that an Indian Judges Committee would visit Pakistani jails during April 19 and April 23 to get first-hand information about Indian prisoners.
The official, who did not want to be named, told Pakistan Today that Pakistan claimed 800 of its nationals were in various Indian jails, but Indian authorities accepted having only 570 Pakistanis in their jails. Similarly, India said 270 of its nationals were imprisoned in Pakistan but Pakistan confirmed the presence of only 196.
The official said further that Indian authorities would fix the date for the proposed visit of a Pakistani judicial commission to India within 4 to 6 weeks in connection with investigations into the Mumbai attacks. “After formal permission from the Indian authorities, the Rawalpindi Anti-Terrorism Court, hearing the trial of Mumbai [attack] accused, will constitute the commission,” the official said.
He said a similar commission from India would also visit Pakistan, however, modalities in this regard were yet to be finalised. The Indian commission would only meet the investigators (the Federal Investigation Agency) of the Mumbai incident, he added.