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Pakistan, India agree on joint border patrolling

Written by: Staff
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Islamabad, Apr 15 (UNI) Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers have agreed to start joint patrolling along the Indo-Pakistan border while promising to cooperate with each other in settling other outstanding issues.

This announcement was made at a joint press conference by BSF Additional Director General N P S Aulakh, the head of an 18-member Indian delegation, and Maj Gen Hussain Mehdi, Director General Pakistan Rangers (Punjab), in Lahore last evening.

The decision of starting joint patrolling came after a three- day long negotiation between the officials of the two countries.

Both sides, however, failed to give details of the procedure of the joint patrolling.

During the negotiations, the officials also took some other important decisions.

Maj Gen Mehdi said Kashmir was the core issue for Pakistan and both countries have their own stance in this regard.

''We have developed a consensus regarding joint patrolling and many other issues like working boundary, search lights, firing exercises and combating smuggling,'' he said.

Advance warning system will be introduced in certain areas before starting firing exercise, the DG said, adding direction of the search lights installed by India was creating problems for Pakistan.

''We have brought the matter into the notice of Indian authorities who have assured us to settle the issue amicably.'' He said those who cross the border unintentionally would be sent back to the country concerned after proper verification within 72 hours.

Maj Gen Mehdi was of the view that though there were no prisoners of war (PoWs) in the jails of Pakistan but on the insistence of Indian authorities they would arrange another survey to validate the fact, and if any prisoner was found he would be handed over to the Indian authorities.

''More than 200 prisoners are currently in the Indian jails and Pakistan Rangers has handed over a list of their names in this regard to the Indian delegation,'' he said.

Additional DG Aulakh said positive results of the steps taken regarding confidence building measures and boundary matters were coming out and Pakistan Rangers would visit India in coming September to talk further in this regard.

Maj Gen Mehdi said reconstruction of the pillars at border would be started after the joint survey in this regard and for this federal government would be contacted for funds.

UNI XC SC RN1606

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