Pak backs Swaraj's suggestion to release civilian prisoners

ANI | Updated: Mar 07, 2018 21:48 IST

New Delhi [India], Mar 7 (ANI): Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Pakistan has responded positively on Wednesday to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's suggestion to work towards the release and repatriation of civilian prisoners incarcerated in both the countries.

"External Affairs Minister of India had, in October 2017, suggested to the High Commissioner of Pakistan that the two sides could progress on humanitarian issues related to elderly, women, children and mentally unsound prisoners," the MEA said in a statement.

The MEA further said that a team of medical experts would also be organised to meet the mentally unsound prisoners so as to facilitate the repatriation of such prisoners.

"It has also been agreed to resume the visits of the Joint Judicial Committee which looks into the issues of fishermen and prisoners in each other's custody," the MEA said.

"The last visit of such a Committee had taken place in October 2013 to India. The officials on both sides would be working on the modalities to implement the understanding reached on these humanitarian issues," it added.

Earlier today, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif approved humanitarian gestures for civilian prisoners incarcerated in both India and his country.

In a statement, the spokesperson of the Pakistan Foreign Office said, "Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has approved the exchange of three categories of prisoners: women, mentally challenged or with special needs and those above 70 years of age."

It added that the Asif also approved the exchange of prisoners above 60 years of age and child prisoners, below 18 years of age.

Asif also approved facilitating the visit of medical experts (from both India and Pakistan) to meet and examine the mentally challenged prisoners for their repatriation. (ANI)