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`Pak, India planning largest-ever prisoner swap`

Last Updated: Monday, August 20, 2012 - 16:36

Islamabad: Pakistan and India are expected to carry out the biggest-ever swap of prisoners languishing in each other jails.

According to officials, a broader understanding to release prisoners was reached when President Asif Ali Zardari visited India this April and met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, reports The Express Tribune.

The swap will apply to all prisoners except those detained on terrorism or espionage charges, sources in the Foreign Ministry said.

While no exact figure is available, officials said the number of Pakistanis jailed in India run into hundreds if not thousands - and most of them are either fishermen or villagers living on the border who cross into India unknowingly.

On the other hand, an equal number of Indians face miserable conditions in Pakistani jails, and are often denied access to a lawyer or contact with their families.

Officials said the release of prisoners would be part of a series of ``pleasant developments`` taking place between the two countries.

"When so many positive things are happening and there is an ambition on both sides to make these gains irreversible, we don`t think we should be shying from dealing with this humanitarian issue," said an official at the Foreign Ministry.

The announcement to release the prisoners is expected to be made in November this year.


First Published: Monday, August 20, 2012 - 16:36

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