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India frees 64 Pakistani prisoners

LAHORE: India on Tuesday released 64 Pakistani prisoners, including 55 fishermen who had been jailed for poaching, officials said.

pak-prisoners pakistan newsThe move came as US President Barack Obama left India after a three-day visit during which he called on India and Pakistan to resolve the differences that have stalled the peace process between the nuclear-armed rivals.

The Pakistanis were handed over by the Indian officials at the Wagah border crossing, Pakistani interior ministry official Muneer Ahmed said.

They included 55 fishermen detained on charges of poaching in Indian waters and nine other civilians jailed for staying on in India after their visas expired, he said.

“They had completed their sentences ranging from one year to two years,”Ahmed added. Witnesses said one of the fishermen, Abdul Rehman, was on a stretcher.

“He was injured in a road accident on the way to the Wagah border,” Ahmed said, quoting Indian border force officials.

Pakistan freed 17 Indian prisoners in June as a “goodwill gesture” ahead of a meeting between top foreign ministry officials from the two countries. India reciprocated by releasing four detained Pakistanis.

Hundreds of Indians and Pakistanis are languishing in prisons on both sides of the border on charges of spying or illegal entry.

The two South Asian rivals have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947. The 2008 Mumbai attacks, which killed 166 people and which New Delhi blamed on Pakistani militants, stalled a tentative peace process. -AFP

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