LAHORE - Indian Border Security Force (BSF) on Friday handed over 37 Pakistani prisoners to Punjab Rangers. Out of these 37 prisoners, 32 are fishermen while five are civilians. All the prisoners were handed over to Pakistan Rangers Punjab at Wagha Joint Check Post (JCP). After verification of prisoners some prisoners met with their family members while others were sent to Edhi home. Most of them belong to Sindh province while few are from Punjab. On Sunday last, Pakistan freed 151 Indian prisoners and returned 57 fishing boats as a goodwill gesture ahead of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s attendance at Narendra Modi’s swearing-in as India prime minister.New Delhi responded by handing over the Pakistani fishermen at the Wagha border crossing.It was the first time an Indian prime minister had hosted a Pakistani leader for official talks in Delhi since a rupture in relations that followed the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.“We have received 32 fishermen and five civilian prisoners from India,” a paramilitary Rangers official, Asif Ali, told AFP.Those released on Friday spent nearly 16 months in different Indian jails and said they had not been mistreated.

Published in The Nation newspaper on 31-May-2014