India proposes Pakistan release of elderly, mentally ill

NEW DELHI – India has proposed to Pakistan to “release all prisoners who are above 70 years of age, are women, or are of unsound mind,” India Today reported on Monday.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during meeting with Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, Sohail Mahmood, discussed the issue. She also gave a proposal to decide the fate of many other prisoners on both sides of the border.

Sushma Swaraj confirmed this proposal at the third Parliamentary Consultative Committee for the Ministry of External Affairs that took place last week on December 21, where the agenda was ‘Relationship with the Neighbourhood’. It was attended by Members of Parliament of various political parties.

Questions on Pak-India relations were asked by MPs including BJP’s Subramanian Swamy, CPI’s D Raja, Shatrughan Sinha, BPP’s Swapan Dasgupta, Congress’s Anand Sharma, RJD’s Misa Bharti. DP Tripathi asked about the issue of visas and the problems that exist between the two nations with a reference to Kasuri’s visit to India.

D Raja made a reference to Pak-India and how Kashmir has become a major part of discussions whenever bilateral ties are discussed.

Swaraj told MPs that the proposal was made to continue with the humanitarian aspect even as India has made it very clear that there can be no forward movement on relations unless terrorism is tackled by Pakistan.

A highly placed source in Pakistan also confirmed that India has put out a proposal and, “among other things, this is part of the humanitarian issues”.

Both sides have been focused on the release of prisoners and fishermen who stray across the maritime borders without delay. Pakistan recently announced that they will release another huge batch of about 200 fishermen on December 29 and January 4. The MPs who attended the Parliamentary consultative meeting were given background notes for each country in the neighbourhood.

The paragraph on Pakistan said: “While pursuing this broad policy, government continues to address humanitarian issues related to fishermen, prisoners, inadvertent crossers and medical treatment.”

 

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