Ahead of Sharif Visit, Pakistan Frees 151 Indian Prisoners



ISLAMABAD — Pakistan Sunday released 151 Indian prisoners as a goodwill gesture ahead of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to New Delhi to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi, officials here said.

Authorities said that 59 were freed from Malir Jail in Karachi and 92 from Nara Jail, Hyderabad, and they have been sent in air-conditioned bus to Lahore, where Pakistan authorities would hand them over to Indian officials at the Wagah border check post Monday, The News International reported.

Meanwhile Modi praised Pakistan and Sri Lanka for freeing Indian fishermen from their jails ahead of his swearing in here Monday.

“I welcome the step by Sri Lanka and Pakistan to release our fishermen. I welcome our fishermen brothers back home!” Modi said in a tweet.

Modi described as “great” the decision of SAARC nations as well as Mauritius to take part in his oath taking ceremony. “Their presence will make the occasion more memorable.”

In another tweet, Modi, who will be India’s 14th prime minister, added: “Overwhelmed by greetings from friends across India and the world. I am deeply grateful for your continuous support and best wishes.”

The freed Indian fishermen expressed their gratitude to Pakistani authorities for providing them all necessary facilities, including food and healthcare, in prisons.

They also appealed to the Indian government for release of Pakistani fishermen similarly held in Indian prisons for straying across the maritime boundary between the two countries.

Pakistan and India routinely arrest fishermen from entering each other’s territorial waters for fishing.–IANS

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