India, Pakistan to repatriate elderly inmates | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 09, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:41 AM, March 09, 2018


India, Pakistan to repatriate elderly inmates

India and Pakistan have agreed to release and repatriate elderly prisoners, women and those with special needs in an apparent bid to de-escalate tensions between them sparked by daily exchange of gunfire between the security forces along the border.

Spokesperson of India 's External Affairs Ministry Raveesh Kumar said on Wednesday evening that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had suggested to the High Commissioner of Pakistan to India in October last year “that the two sides could progress on humanitarian issues related to elderly, women, children and mentally unsound prisoners. We note that today Pakistan has responded positively to EAM's suggestion…”

 He said 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 last visit of such a Committee had taken place in October 2013 to India. The committee comprises retired judges of the two countries.

The officials of the two countries would be working on the modalities to implement the understanding reached on these humanitarian issues, Kumar said.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, the Pakistan foreign office said they had accepted Indian proposals also on the revival of a judicial committee mechanism which would oversee the speedy release of each other ' s prisoners.

Pakistan also expressed a desire for a resumption of official dialogue with India stalled for the last two years since the terror attack on an Indian Air Force base in Indian state of Punjab in 2016.

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