Lahore: Pakistani authorities on Friday handed
over 33 prisoners, including a fisherman suffering from
cancer, to Indian authorities following their release as a
Pakistan Rangers personnel handed over the prisoners,
including a total of 26 fishermen, at the Wagah land border
even as a new Indian integrated customs check post was
inaugurated to boost trade between the two countries.
The prisoners had been jailed on charges of illegally
entering Pakistani territory or crossing the maritime
Pakistan Rangers spokesman Mahboob Husain said they had
been handed over to the Border Security Force.
Samant Lakshman Bambhaniya, the fisherman suffering from
bone cancer, was airlifted from Karachi to Lahore and then
driven to the border in an ambulance.
The other prisoners travelled to the border separately,
Pakistani authorities had initially said 34 prisoners
would be freed today but one of the men was not released.
The reason for this could not immediately be ascertained.
The release of the prisoners came less than a week after
President Asif Ali Zardari made a day-long private visit to
India, where he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and offered
prayers at a Sufi shrine in Ajmer.
The Indian fishermen were being held at Malir Jail in
Karachi, the capital of Sindh province.
Officials said over 423 Indian fishermen were still in
Malir Jail while some 150 Pakistani fishermen are reportedly
in Indian prisons.