In contact with India for repatriation of Pakistani prisoners: FO

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is in contact with Indian authorities for repatriation of Pakistani prisoners incarcerated in Indian prisons, the Foreign Office said in a statement on Thursday. Responding to a question during his weekly press briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal noted that of the 45 Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentences, 12 are civilians while the other 33 are fishermen. There are a total of 341 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails. “Our mission is in contact with all relevant Indian authorities for repatriation of these prisoners. Our High Commission in New Delhi also engages with the Indian media to highlight the plight of Pakistani prisoners,” the spokesperson said. Pakistan has also hired a law firm to assist and facilitate their repatriation, he added. To another question, Dr Faisal strongly condemned the ongoing brutalities by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir, and called on the international community, particularly the champions of human rights, to urge India to immediately halt its atrocities in the held valley. The spokesperson said the Kashmir issue remains at top of Pakistan's list of priorities, and the country will continue to expose the true Indian face in occupied Kashmir at all international forums. Dr Faisal further said Pakistan will continue to play a constructive role for promoting peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, in a bid to bring lasting peace and stability to the region. The spokesperson said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi paid a very successful shuttle visit to Kabul, Tehran, Beijing and Moscow which would help generate consensus among all stakeholders to advance the peace process in Afghanistan. He said the visits were essentially part of the government's policy to strengthen relations with all neighbours and regional countries. The foreign minister will also visit Qatar soon, the spokesperson added. Qureshi terms his four-nation tour 'shuttle diplomacy' Pakistan's longstanding position to give peace and reconciliation a real chance in Afghanistan has become the basis for an international consensus, Dr Faisal noted, adding that the recent developments in Afghan peace talks have led to this widely acknowledged agreement. The shuttle diplomacy also provided an opportunity to listen to views of the leadership in these countries for promoting a joint regional approach in Afghanistan and explore realistic possibilities of regional integration in economic terms, he said.

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