LAHORE/ISLAMABAD -  A Pakistani child with hearing and speech disabilities who had been behind bars in India was finally set free on Monday.

A spokesperson for the Pakistani High Commission, New Delhi said that Hasnain, 15-year-old, who couldn’t hear or talk, was handed over to officials at Wagah border. He was arrested by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) on May 17, 2017 after he couldn’t tell them details of his whereabouts.

Sweets were distributed when the boy reached his house in Shad Bagh, Lahore. Hasnain’s mother thanked the government and Ansar Burney Trust for helping her reunite with her son.

Hasnain had been kept at a juvenile medical care unit in Fareed Kot, and was given consular access on November 21 this year. Hasnain conveyed to officials during the consular access that he is Pakistani, and was able to identify Pakistani currency, flag and the picture of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. During this entire process, the Pakistani High Commission remained in contact with Indian officials.

Pakistan Monday handed over a list of 457 Indian prisoners - 399 fishermen and 58 other civilians - to the High Commission of India here.

“This step is consistent with the provisions of the Consular Access Agreement between Pakistan and India, signed on 21 May 2008, a foreign office statement said, adding that “Pakistan will release 146 fishermen on January 8”.

The statement further said that under the agreement “both countries are required to exchange lists of prisoners in each other's custody twice a year”, on January 1 and July 1.

“The Indian government will also hand over the list of Pakistani prisoners to Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi,” it said.

JAPANESE FM ARRIVES TOMORROW

Another foreign office statement said Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono will visit Pakistan on January 3-4.

During the visit, he will hold wide ranging talks with Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif on bilateral issues.

“Both sides will also exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interests. Foreign Minister Kono will also pay a courtesy call on the Prime Minister (Shahid Khaqan Abbasi),” it said.

The statement said Pakistan attached great importance to its relations with Japan. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1952, Pakistan-Japan relations had steadily progressed in political, economic, trade and other fields.

“High-level bilateral visits have been a major component of this relationship. Japan has also been a major development partner of Pakistan. It has played an important role in the socio-economic development of the country.  Foreign Minister Kono's visit will help further cement our bilateral ties,” said the statement.