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India, Pakistan working for release of disabled, elderly prisoners


IANS Islamabad
Pakistan and India are considering a proposal to release elderly prisoners, those with disabilities or women prisoners on humanitarian grounds held in each other's jails, even as tensions simmer between the two South Asian rivals over ceasefire violations along the borders, the media reported on Tuesday.
During a high-level discussions in past weeks, officials from both countries deliberated over a plan to release imprisoned citizens that fall in the following three categories: Prisoners over 70 years of age, mentally disabled and hearing or speech impaired persons and female prisoners.
According to an official document of Pakistan's Interior Ministry and Foreign Office obtained by Dawn, India's Ministry of External Affairs had summoned the Pakistan High Commissioner to New Delhi a few days ago and proposed that both countries should accelerate the process to exchange prisoners of the three categories.
In a meeting held in Bangkok on December 26 last year, the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of New Delhi and Islamabad had also agreed to take steps for the imminent release of prisoners who are elderly or disabled or females, on humanitarian grounds, the documents show.
The NSAs had also agreed on a proposal to revive the mechanism of Pakistan-India Joint Judicial Committee on Prisoners, which has been inactive since October 2013.
Interior Ministry sources told Dawn that at least 40 Pakistani citizens were in Indian jails who fit the criteria of the three categories.
Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Faisal said the proposal to exchange prisoners had been under consideration, however "they could not be implemented due to LoC (ceasefire violations) and tensions between the two countries" so far. He said the proposals were currently being discussed at the Interior Ministry level.

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First Published: Jan 30 2018 | 9:12 PM IST

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