New Delhi, March 2: India has released 39 Pakistani prisoners languishing in jails as a goodwill gesture. The prisoners include 14 Pakistanis who have served out their sentences in India and 25 fishermen. Prisoners are only released after completion of sentence, no pending case and confirmation of nationality, said officials.External Affairs Ministry said, The Government of India attaches highest importance to addressing all humanitarian matters, including early release and repatriation of all eligible Pakistani civil prisoners and fishermen.
The Indian authorities handed over the prisoners to Pakistan Rangers officials at Wagah Boarder in Lahore. Pakistan Rangers then handed over all prisoners to the officials of Edhi Foundation. Edhi Foundation spokesperson said that the released prisoners would be sent to their homes soon.
These fishermen were arrested for entering Indian waters by mistake while fishing. The other 14 prisoners are those who were arrested for living illegally in India after expiry of their visas.
Meanwhile, Pakistan released over 218 Indian fishermen lodged in jails there in January this year. Also Islamabad followed this up by releasing Chandi Babulal Chavan, an Indian soldier who had inadvertently crossed into Pakistani territory.