India awaiting Pakistan’s response on prisoners meeting

New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) Amid a pause in the sub-continental composite dialogue, India Saturday said it had requested Pakistan during the recent foreign secretary-level talks for dates for the next meeting of the judicial committee on prisoners, but is still awaiting a response.

‘India had requested Pakistan in January this year, and again during the talks between foreign secretaries last month, to convey dates for the next meeting of India-Pakistan Judicial Committee, which is to be held in Pakistan,’ external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash told reporters here.

He was responding to reports relating to unresolved humanitarian issues between India and Pakistan relating to prisoners and fishermen in each other’s custody.

‘This proposal was made so that these humanitarian issues are addressed expeditiously. Pakistan’s response is still awaited,’ the spokesperson added.

Pakistan had released 100 Indian fishermen in December last year. There are more than 550 Indian fishermen and 400 Indian fishing boats in Pakistan’s custody, besides 220 Indian prisoners.

The release of prisoners and fishermen was among the issues discussed between Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in New Delhi Feb 25.

Even as India has made it clear that the time was not ripe for resuming the composite dialogue till a climate of trust was created by Pakistan by acting on New Delhi’s concerns over cross-border terror, it is keen to resolve humanitarian issues like the release of prisoners.

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