ISLAMBAD : Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Friday’s National Assembly session said Pakistan has been making efforts for the release of Pakistani prisoners languishing in Indian jails.

“We are actively taking up the matter with India, and also exerting moral pressure on our neighbouring country,” said the minister while responding to the call-attention notice, raised by the opposition lawmakers over the matter of fishermen languishing in the jails of India.

Terming it a humanitarian issue, the Minister said that India had tried to escalate the situation after Pulwama incident, which has no connection with Pakistan. “We are interested to defuse the tension with India through goodwill gestures, and for this purpose Pakistan released Indian pilot and their 360 fishermen,” he said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Andleeb Abbas, responding to questions raised by opposition, said that there were 585 prisoners including 210 fishermen in the Indian jails.

In a breakthrough, the nationalities of thirty prisoners have been confirmed and four Pakistani fishermen will be released on Tuesday.

DEFENCE MINISTER WARNS OPPOSITION

Minister for Defence Pervaiz Khattak warned the opposition to avoid creating fuss in the house. “Khwaja Asif was much aggressive the other day. It is unfair to attack (verbally) on ‘OUR’ speaker near his dias. What if, we (government) intend to protect him, as it will lead to ‘war’,” he said, inviting criticism from opposition that the chair is neutral and not belong to any political party.

Interrupting the minister, Speaker Asad Qaider rushed to remark that he was speaker of the entire house.

However, the Minister said that opposition should have courage to listen and response to the government. “We will definitely give reply to criticism from opposition,” he said.