By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan and India have agreed to facilitate the exchange of elderly and women prisoners presently languishing in the jails of the two nuclear-armed rival countries of the South Asian region.
“The Foreign Minister, after consulting with all the stakeholders, has approved the following humanitarian proposals, which had been received from the Indian side, regarding the civilian prisoners incarcerated in both the countries,” spokesman of Pakistan’s foreign office said on Wednesday.
The proposals include- exchange of three categories of prisoners, women, mentally challenged or with special needs and those above 70 years of age, revival of the Judicial Committee mechanism and facilitating the visit of medical experts (from both sides) to meet and examine the mentally challenged prisoners for their repatriation.
Pakistan has also extended two more humanitarian proposals including exchange of prisoners above 60 years of age and exchange of child prisoners, below 18 years of age.
The Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that India would positively reciprocate Pakistan’s proposals, in the spirit that they have been made. 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 and the Working Boundary.
Both Pakistan and Indian troops have exchanged heavy fire for the past two years.