India's proposals about exchange of prisoners approved: Pakistan Foreign Office

Pakistan reiterates desire to strengthen its long standing relationship with US

India's proposals about exchange of prisoners approved: Pakistan Foreign Office

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday lashed out at Pakistani departments for their failure to prevent drugs smuggling to other countries.

Moreover, the foreign affairs minister said Unity of Muslim Ummah was need of the hour, adding Pakistan had to play a key role in resolving issues pertaining to Muslim Ummah.

She had suggested to work towards the release and repatriation of prisoners over 70 years of age and women prisoners who are in each other's custody, the ministry said in a statement.

Islamabad and New Delhi each claim Kashmir in its entirety.

Both countries also made a decision to revive the system of judicial committees on either side, comprising of retired judges to oversee the condition of prisoners.

The lists are transferred on January 1 and July 1 each year. In Pakistan, there are 457 Indian prisoners, comprising of 399 fishermen and 58 civilians. Saudi authorities have arrested Pakistanis, he said, adding that some have been held for overstay.

The minister also greenlighted the revival of the mechanism of India-Pakistan Joint Judicial Committee on Prisoners, which has been inactive since October 2013.

"He also stated that it was his desire that through such initiatives, Pakistan and India would embark on the road to a comprehensive dialogue, and make a conscious effort to de-escalate the extremely vitiated current environment and the situation on the Line of Control...." the Pakistan foreign office added.

Ahead of International Women's Day, India and Pakistan on Wednesday agreed to the release and repatriation of women prisoners as well as of those who are over 70 years of age. A parliamentary panel under Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, which a year ago scrutinised India-Pakistan relations, had expressed dismay that this mechanism was defunct since 2013. "Further, a visit of a team of medical experts would be organised to meet the mentally unsound prisoners to facilitate the repatriation of such prisoners", said Raveesh Kumar, official spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs. The countries are now working out the modalities to implement the understanding on humanitarian issues.

He said that since the beginning of this year, the Indian occupation forces carried out more than four hundred ceasefire violations along the LoC and the Working Boundary, resulting in the martyrdom of eighteen innocent Pakistani civilians.

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