India, Pakistan Agree to Release and Repatriate Elderly, Women Prisoners

Visits by the Joint Judicial Committee are also going to be resumed.

New Delhi/Islamabad: The release and repatriation of women prisoners as well as of those who are over 70 years of age, and resumption of visits by the Joint Judicial Committee are among the humanitarian proposals India and Pakistan agreed to today.

Noting that external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had, in October 2017, suggested to the Pakistan high commissioner that the two sides could progress on humanitarian issues related to elderly, women, children and mentally unsound prisoners, the ministry said, “we note that today Pakistan has responded positively” to minister’s suggestion.

She had suggested to work towards the release and repatriation of prisoners over 70 years of age and women prisoners who are in each other’s custody, the ministry said in a statement.

Further, a visit of a team of medical experts would be organised to meet the mentally unsound prisoners so as to facilitate the repatriation of such prisoners, it added.

“It has also been agreed to resume the visits of the Joint Judicial Committee which looks into the issues of fishermen and prisoners in each other’s custody. The last visit of such a Committee had taken place in October 2013 to India,” it added.

The officials on both sides would be working on the modalities to implement the understanding reached on these humanitarian issues.

Earlier, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal in Islamabad said, “Foreign minister Khawaja Asif, after consulting with all the stakeholders, has approved the humanitarian proposals, which had been received from the Indian side, regarding the civilian prisoners incarcerated in both the countries.”

The Foreign Office said that the minister has also extended two more humanitarian proposals: the exchange of prisoners above 60 years of age and the exchange of child prisoners.

“The Foreign Minister expressed the hope that India would positively reciprocate Pakistan’s proposals, in the spirit that they have been made,” it said.

“He also stated that it was his desire that through such initiatives, Pakistan and India would embark on the road to a comprehensive dialogue, and make a conscious effort to de-escalate the extremely vitiated current environment and the situation on the Line of Control….” the Pakistan foreign office added.