ISLAMABAD–Pakistan on Monday repatriated 173 Indian prisoners and urged India to release all of its nationals in Indian jails.
Earlier, Pakistan had released 40 Indian prisoners on Nov. 29, 2014. “It is our hope that the government of India would release all Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentences,” the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson said.
Pakistan has always held that the issue of prisoners between the two countries is a humanitarian one and should be taken in that spirit,” she said in a statement.
Islamabad set free the Indian prisoners just days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif by the phone and informed him that he would soon send his top diplomat to Islamabad, raising hopes for the revival of the stalled talks. Sharif quickly welcomed the Indian decision.
Indian canceled dialogue with Pakistan in August last year as a protest over a meeting of the Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi with Kashmiri separatist leaders. Pakistan insists India should resume the dialogue as it has unilaterally canceled the process.
Pakistan released the fishermen despite the ongoing tension over the cross-border firing.
A Pakistani civilian was killed in Indian firing along the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region on Saturday in a latest exchange of firing, the army said. The Foreign Ministry accused India of violating the 2003 ceasefire along the LoC that divides the two countries in Kashmir.