Pakistan to release 360 Indian prisoners in four phases through April

Published April 5, 2019
"It is hoped that India will respond positively to this decision by Pakistan," said Dr Faisal in a briefing to media on Friday. — PID/File
"It is hoped that India will respond positively to this decision by Pakistan," said Dr Faisal in a briefing to media on Friday. — PID/File

Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Friday announced that Pakistan will be releasing 360 Indian prisoners over the month of April, a process which will be carried out in four phases.

"It is hoped that India will respond positively to this decision by Pakistan," Dr Faisal said while addressing his weekly briefing to the media in Islamabad.

Providing details regarding the release, the spokesperson said that currently there are 347 Pakistani prisoners in India and 537 Indian prisoners in Pakistan. Pakistan shall be releasing 360 Indian prisoners, of which 355 are fishermen and 5 are civilians.

According to Dr Faisal, in the first phase on April 8, 100 prisoners shall be released. In the second phase on April 5, another 100 shall be released. In the third phase on April 22, yet another 100 shall be released. In the fourth and last phase on April 29, the remaining 60 prisoners shall be released.

The spokesperson said that India's response to Pakistan's briefing regarding the Pulwama dossier was yet to be received. He further said that Pakistan is serious regarding the Kartarpur corridor and the world knows that it was India who backed out of discussions regarding the project.

After a productive technical meeting on March 19, India announced its decision 10 days later to postpone the next meeting (scheduled for April 2) in a statement issued by India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

According to the MEA's statement, "India has shared concerns and sought clarifications on reports that controversial elements have been appointed by Pakistan to a committee to be associated with the Kartarpur Corridor."

However, it did not elaborate on what 'controversial elements' it was referring to.

Two days prior to the statement, Radio Pakistan had reported that the Federal Cabinet had constituted a ten-member Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) to facilitate Sikh pilgrims after the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor.

Meanwhile, India had also proposed in its statement that infrastructure development for the corridor should go forward and "in an expeditious manner."

"India has proposed to hold another meeting of technical experts in mid-April to resolve outstanding issues at the zero point agreed to at the last meeting," the statement further clarified.

Dr Faisal termed India's reservations regarding the opening of the corridor as "inappropriate" and said that if the corridor failed to open, India would be responsible.

Commenting on reports regarding the sale of anti-submarine weaponry to India by the US, Dr Faisal said that such decisions will lead to an escalation in the arms race within the region.

"A country which on February 27 tried to attack Pakistan is being sold weapons," he regretted.

Regarding the ongoing crackdown against proscribed organisations, the spokesperson said that all steps taken for the implementation of the National Action Plan were in the country's own interests and for which regular briefings to the diplomatic corps shall continue.

Opinion

Editorial

Afghan puzzle
Updated 28 May, 2024

Afghan puzzle

Unless these elements are neutralised, it will not be possible to have the upper hand over terrorist groups.
Attacking minorities
28 May, 2024

Attacking minorities

Mobs turn into executioners due to the authorities’ helplessness before these elements.
Persistent scourge
28 May, 2024

Persistent scourge

THE challenge of polio in Pakistan has reached a new nadir, drawing grave concerns from the Technical Advisory Group...
Mercury rising
Updated 27 May, 2024

Mercury rising

Each of the country's leaders is equally responsible for the deep pit Pakistan seems to have fallen into.
Antibiotic overuse
27 May, 2024

Antibiotic overuse

ANTIMICROBIAL resistance is an escalating crisis claiming some 700,000 lives annually in Pakistan. It is the third...
World Cup team
27 May, 2024

World Cup team

PAKISTAN waited until the very end to name their T20 World Cup squad. Even then, there was last-minute drama. Four...