Pakistan to free 360 Indian prisoners in April

Pakistan expects that India will reciprocate the gesture to release 347 Pakistani prisoners.

As a goodwill gesture amid tense relations with India, Pakistan on Friday announced it would release 360 Indian prisoners, including 355 fishermen and five civilians, during the month of April.

These prisoners will be released in four batches – 100 each on April 8, 15 and 29 while 60 prisoners including 55 fishermen and five civilians will be freed on April 29, Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammed Faisal said here at the weekly Press briefing.

He said a decision had been taken to release 360 prisoners who had completed their sentences out of the total 537 Indian prisoners.

“Pakistan expects that India will reciprocate the gesture to release 347 Pakistani prisoners, including 249 civilians and 98 fishermen, currently languishing in Indian jails,” the spokesman said.

In response to a question on Special Envoy of US State Secretary Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad pressing Pakistan to deliver more on Afghanistan, the spokesman said, “Pakistan will take every decision in its national interests”.

Ambassador Khalilzad, who is currently in Islamabad, met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and updated him on the recent Doha talks on Afghan reconciliation and intra-Afghan dialogue, he said.

Faisal expressed disappointment over India’s decision to postpone the Kartarpur meeting scheduled for April 2 and said that talks were vital to finalise modalities to open the corridor before the 550th anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak in November.

When asked to comment on a statement by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi that some elements were fanning unrest in Gilgit-Baltistan, he said, “It was none other than India which was involved in subversive activities in Pakistan as evident in the case of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.”

On a note verbale from the Indian government seeking consular access to Jadhav, the spokesman said Pakistan was awaiting the verdict of the International Court of Justice which had reserved its decision after hearing the case.

In response to India’s recent deals on purchase of weapons, Faisal said Pakistan was concerned about the arms race which could undermine region’s peace.

Release of prisoners in four batches

Indian prisoners will be released in four batches.

100 each will be freed on April 8, 15 and 29 while 60 prisoners will be freed on April 29.

These 360 Indian prisoners have completed their sentences out of total 537 Indian prisoners.

347 Pakistani nationals, including 249 civilians and 98 fishermen, are currently languishing in Indian jails.

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