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India to release 26 Pakistan prisoners

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: India will release 26 more Pakistani civil prisoners on November 18. The Pakistan High Commission had verified the nationality of these prisoners, who have completed their prison term, official sources said. The States, where they are lodged, have been advised to bring them to the Wagah border on that day. for handing them over to the Pakistan authorities. Eleven prisoners will be released from Gujarat, five from Rajasthan, three from Jammu and Kashmir and two each from Delhi and Punjab. Haryana, Maharashtra and Nagaland will release one prisoner each.

The decision follows the agreement between India and Pakistan during the second round of Home Secretary-level talks between the two countries on terrorism and drug trafficking held here on August 29-30 this year.

The talks were held as part of the ongoing composite dialogue process. It was agreed to provide consular access to all persons within three months of arrest and release the prisoners immediately after completion of sentence and nationality verification. They had also agreed to release all fishermen and civilian prisoners who have completed their sentence and whose nationality has been confirmed.

India had released 97 Pakistani civil prisoners and 51 fishermen on September 12 across the Wagah border. The same day, Pakistan repatriated 371 Indian fishermen and 64 prisoners.

Sources said there was no word from Islamabad so far on release of any Indian civil prisoner that day.

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