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Pakistan agrees to release Indian prisoners

10 March 2018

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Friday said that Pakistan fought "made in America jihad" after 9/11, adding that the whole world knows who is behind Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS).

In a move that could signal a thaw in India-Pakistan relations, the South Asian neighbours have agreed on an exchange of elderly and women prisoners.

Islamabad and New Delhi each claim Kashmir in its entirety.

In October a year ago, Sushma Swaraj suggested that the two sides could progress on humanitarian issues related to elderly, women, children and mentally unsound prisoners when Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood called on her after freshly assuming office.

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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.

Pakistan excused itself from convincing Afghan Taliban to come to dialogues, as Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua said Pakistan has no past-like influence over them; hence, the United States and Afghanistan should take initiative in this regard.

According to the Pakistan's Foreign Office, Asif has additionally proposed to India two more suggestions for the prisoners' welfare, including exchange of prisoners older than 60 years and exchange of child prisoners younger than 18.

It was not known when India sent the proposals but the spokesman had said at a weekly media briefing that Indian humanitarian proposals about prisoners were under consideration of Ministry of Interior.

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Kumar in a statement noted the positive response from Pakistan. "The officials on both sides would be working on the modalities to implement the understanding reached on these humanitarian issues".

The foreign secretary said that while there were points in recent U.S. policies that were hard for Pakistan but "a policy seems different when it is rolled out". This is despite meetings between Pakistan's then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Russian city of Ufa and in Paris on the sidelines of the UN Framework Conference on Climate Change in 2015.

But a series of attacks on military facilities in India in 2016 put paid to the efforts to resume talks.

The United States and Pakistan have the same "end view, peace and stability in Afghanistan, denying safe havens and sanctuaries to terrorists", she said. The Indian government also highlighted Pakistan's active support to terrorist groups based on its soil at global fora including the UN General Assembly.

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Pakistan agrees to release Indian prisoners