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India Releases 39 Pakistani Prisoners Including 18 Fishermen

India on Wednesday released 39 Pakistani prisoners, comprising 21 civil prisoners and 18 fishermen, after Pakistan confirmed their nationality.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:March 1, 2017, 11:01 PM IST
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New Delhi: India on Wednesday released 39 Pakistani prisoners, comprising 21 civil prisoners and 18 fishermen, after Pakistan confirmed their nationality.

Announcing their release, the External Affairs Ministry said they are being repatriated to Pakistan via Attari/Wagah check post.

"The Government of India attaches highest importance to addressing all humanitarian matters, including early release and repatriation of all eligible Pakistani civil prisoners and fishermen," it said.

Today's release of Pakistani prisoners comes in response to Pakistan freeing 217 Indian fishermen as part of a "goodwill gesture" in December last.

Prisoners are only released after they meet three conditions -- completion of sentence, no pending case and confirmation of nationality, officials said here.

The prisoners crossed over to Pakistan through the land transit route on the basis of 'Emergency Travel Certificate' issued by Pakistan High Commission in Delhi.

A couple, seven children and 18 fishermen were among the 39 prisoners released today.

Some of the Pakistan nationals had trespassed into Indian territory through Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat where they were arrested.

Some fishermen claimed they were arrested by the Indian Coast Guard from the Arabian Sea after their boats crossed over to India due to immense water flow and wind direction.

One of the prisoner, Tariq Ali said he was arrested about five years ago when he inadvertently crossed over to the Indian territory while working in an agriculture field which lied on the Indo-Pak border.

26-year-old Ramjan said he had come to India in 2011 on a valid passport and visa, but his luggage, with the passport and visa in it, was stolen during his stay at Ajmer in Rajasthan.

He claimed that he was arrested when reported the matter to police and was sentenced six years of imprisonment by a court as he was found without legal travel document.

The prisoners urged the governments of India and Pakistan to take necessary steps for the identification of Pakistani citizens languishing in different Indian jails.

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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