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India to release 13 Pakistani prisoners including women, child

November 01, 2017

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Fatima, Mumtaz and 10-year-old Hina are among those being sent back to Pakistan on Thursday. —Photo by Indian High Commission in Islamabad
Fatima, Mumtaz and 10-year-old Hina are among those being sent back to Pakistan on Thursday. —Photo by Indian High Commission in Islamabad

India has announced to release 13 Pakistani prisoners including women and a child, who will be sent back to Pakistan on Thursday through the Wagah-Attari border, the Foreign Office said on Wednesday.

The prisoners include two women — Mumtaz and Fatima — who were apprehended on charges of drug trafficking after travelling to India via Samjhota Express in 2006, it added.

Fatima's 10-years-old daughter Hina, who was born in captivity as Fatima was pregnant at the time of her arrest, is also among those being repatriated after an Indian court ordered their release.

"Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has worked closely with the Indian authorities to ensure the release and repatriation of these prisoners," read a statement issued by the Foreign Office.

Hina, 10, poses with an official in India. —Photo courtesy Indian High Commission
Hina, 10, poses with an official in India. —Photo courtesy Indian High Commission

"They will be handed over to Pakistani authorities in the presence of officials of Pakistan High Commission," the Foreign Office statement read.

Relations between the two neighbouring countries remain tense with regular instances of cross-border firing across the Line of Control (LoC), however, the exchange of prisoners between the two countries continues intermittently.

Last month, 68 Indian fishermen were released from Karachi’s Malir jail.

Pakistan freed dozens of Indian fishermen in the beginning of the year as well, while India reciprocated the move releasing 39 Pakistani prisoners in March.

Over 500 Pakistani prisoners are still languishing in Indian jails according to a list sent to Indian authorities by the Foreign Office earlier this year.

The fishermen of both the neighbouring countries occasionally stray into the other country’s waters during their fishing trips and are caught and put into jails where they remain imprisoned for long periods of time.