New Delhi: In a goodwill gesture on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr, India on Friday announced the release of 85 Pakistani prisoners, most of them fishermen lodged in various jails in the country.
On Thursday, the Union Home Ministry ordered the release 58 Pakistani fishermen lodged in Gujarat jails. The state government has been advised to move the appropriate court in respect of the fishermen facing trial so that the cases against them could be withdrawn.
"On September 9, orders have been issued releasing 58 fishermen lodged in Gujarat jails, subject to issue of travel documents by Pakistan authorities," a statement released by the ministry said.
Of these, 58 Pakistani fishermen are currently lodged in Gujarat prisons alone.
Apart from them, seven each prisoners from Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir respectively, one from Rajasthan and two from Delhi are also being released. Three other prisoners lodged in Gujarat jails would also be repatriated.
The Pakistan government has intimated a list of 43 fishermen. "However, only seven of them could be cleared for release at the moment. Release order in respect of these seven persons has been issued,” the ministry stated.
"However, due to logistic issues, the Pakistan government has indicated that they would be able to receive them only on September 15. Therefore, it has been decided that apart from seven fishermen, three other prisoners lodged in Gujarat jails would also be repatriated on September 15," a Home Ministry official said.
It said that the Gujarat government has been advised to move the appropriate court in respect of 55 Pakistani fishermen facing trial, so that the cases against them could be withdrawn and they could be repatriated to Pakistan.
The prisoners from Punjab, J&K, Rajasthan and Delhi would also be repatriated on September 15 at Attari-Wagah border.
Indian government has released 128 prisoners and repatriated them to Pakistan via Attari this year.
With the fresh orders, a total of 213 Pakistani prisoners will be released in the calendar year 2010.
On September 6, a group of 141 Indian fishermen were released by Pakistani authorities from a jail in the southern port city of Karachi, completing the process of freeing 442 fishermen who have completed their prison terms.
With PTI inputs