Pakistan Accepts India's Proposal to Release Elderly, Disabled Inmates

MEA spokesperson Ravish Kumar

MEA spokesperson Ravish Kumar

"Until GHQ in Rawalpindi is convinced that peace can only be discussed once Pakistan turns off the terror tap, these proposals, while good, will have very limited value and impact", a senior Indian official said. Above and beyond India's proposals, Asif also pushed for the exchange of prisoners who are minors and senior citizens (above 60 years of age).

India proposed the exchanges on "humanitarian grounds" would include women, mentally ill or disabled people, and the elderly held by either side.

He said that thousands of Pakistanis contacted embassy on daily basis, adding that Ministry of Foreign Affairs was making efforts to provide consular access to the prisoners in Saudi Arabia. The nuclear-armed rivals have gone to war over the region twice since they gained independence from Britain in 1947.

"Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has approved the exchange of three categories of prisoners: women, mentally challenged or with special needs and those above 70 years of age", the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said in a statement.

After Islamabad accepted the offer, the external affairs ministry said Sushma Swaraj had in October 2017 suggested to the Pakistan high commissioner that the two sides progress on humanitarian issues related to the elderly, women, children and mentally unsound prisoners. India added that the judicial committee, which "looks into the issues of fishermen and prisoners in each other's custody" would resume visits to each other's countries. Under an agreement, both Pakistan and India have to transfer the lists of prisoners of each country detained in other side twice a year.

"The last visit of such a Committee had taken place in October 2013 to India".

New Delhi's position on ceasefire violation has remained consistent with suggestions that Indian armed forces are only responding to Pakistani attempts at facilitating infiltration of militants.

The statement released by Pakistan informed that the humanitarian proposals were made by India. The countries are now working out the modalities to implement the understanding on humanitarian issues.

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