PAKISTAN: Country releases 17 Indian prisoners and hands them over to Indian authorities as a goodwill gesture...
- Title: PAKISTAN: Country releases 17 Indian prisoners and hands them over to Indian authorities as a goodwill gesture on the eve of key preparatory talks
- Date: 24th June 2010
- Summary: WAGAH, PAKISTAN (JUNE 23, 2010) (REUTERS) WAGAH BORDER GATE PAKISTAN FLAG SODIERS OF PAKISTAN RANGERS INDIAN PRISONERS REALEASED BY PAKISTAN SITTING IN CHAIRS PRISONERS (SOUNDBITE) (Punjabi) RAJU SINGH, AN INDIAN PRISONER RELEASED BY PAKISTAN, SAYING: "I feel as if I have been given a new existence." PRISONERS HOLDING THEIR BELONGINGS PREPARING TO CROSS OVER TO INDIA (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) ABDULLAH, AN INDIAN PRISONER SAYING: "I feel very delighted as I am returning to my homeland after a long time." PAKISTAN RANGERS HANDING PRISONERS OVER TO THE INDIAN BORDER SECURITY FORCE PERSONNEL VARIOUS OF PRISONERS CROSSING OVER TO INDIA PRISONERS BOWING/PROSTRATING IN THANKS/MEDIA COVERING SOLDIERS OF PAKISTAN RANGERS RETURNING AFTER HAND OVER
- Reuters ID: LVA291FD3DSJWE8WVM8SDQ0L9XKY
- Location: Pakistan
- Country: Pakistan
- Duration: 00:01:46
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: Pakistan on Wednesday (June 23) released 17 Indian prisoners and handed them over to Indian authorities as a gesture of goodwill ahead of talks between the two countries' foreign secretaries, due on Thursday, June 24. The prisoners were released at the Wagah border crossing near the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore.
The talks between Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and his Indian counterpart Nirupama Rao are intended to prepare the ground for a meeting of the countries' Foreign Ministers on July 15. Their meeting in turn followed an agreement between Prime Ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan and Manmohan Singh on India to restart their countries' peace process at a meeting in Thimphu, Bhutan in April.
India halted peace talks with Pakistan after the November 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed and which India has blamed on Pakistan-based militant groups.
The top diplomats of the two countries met in New Delhi in February this year but failed to achieve a breakthrough. That meeting, nonetheless, was seen as a small step towards repairing ties.
The freed Indians, were serving sentences in various prisons in Pakistan in connection with immigration offences. The prisoners told reporters they were happy to be returning to their homeland. "I feel as if I have been given a new existence,"said a prisoner Raju Singh.
"I feel very delighted as I am returning to my homeland after a long time,"said another prisoner Abdullah while walking hastily towards Indian side of the border.
The United States has been urging the two sides to reduce tension so that Pakistan can focus on fighting the Taliban on its western border with Afghanistan.
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- Embargoed:9th July 2010 13:00