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India to release 38 Pak civil prisoners tomorrow

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, June 29 (UNI) India will release 38 Pakistani civilian prisoners tomorrow and instructions have already been issued by the Centre to various states where the prisoners are held.

The prisoners have completed their sentences and their nationality has been verified by the Pakistan High Commission here, an official statement said today.

''In pursuance of the understanding reached between India and Pakistan during the recent Home Secretary-level talks, India will release 38 Pakistani civil prisoners tomorrow from the Wagah Border.

These prisoners have completed their sentences and their nationality has been verified by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi,'' the statement said.

The maximum number of the prisoners is from Punjab, totalling 20, followed by Jammu and Kashmir with 10. Five prisoners are from Rajasthan and one each from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.

The government has also decided to grant consular access to all eligible Pakistani civil prisoners and fishermen lodged in various Indian jails to facilitate their repatriation to Pakistan immediately after completion of their sentences and confirmation of their national status by Pakistani authorities.

Prisoners in jails in West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand will be provided consular access in the Demdam Central Jail in Kolkata on July 10-11 while prisoners in jails in Rajasthan and Gujarat will be given concular access in Jaipur Central Jail on July 13-14.

Similarly, prisoners in jails in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir will be given consular access in Amritsar Central Jail on July 20-21 and those in jails in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh or any other state/Union Territory will be provided consular access in Delhi's Tihar jail on July 27-28.

Thirty fishermen will also be provided consular access in Jamnagar Central jail in Gujarat on July 13.

''This is being done in pursuance of the third round of Home Secretary-level talks on Terrorism and Drug Trafficking under the Composite Dialogue Process held in Islamabad on May 30-31,'' the statement said.

It was agreed in that meeting that fishermen and civilian prisoners, who have completed their prison sentences and have been granted consular access and whose national status has been verified, would be released by June 30.

It was also agreed to exchange lists of civilian prisoners by June 15 to facilitate consular access by July 31 and subsequent releases.

''These measures will further strengthen the initiatives taken by way of confidence building measures between the two countries,'' the statement added.


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