Chidambaram clears release of four Pak prisoners | india | Hindustan Times
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Chidambaram clears release of four Pak prisoners

india Updated: Jun 25, 2010 11:30 IST

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Ahead of his visit to Islamabad on Friday, Home Minister P Chidambaram set a positive tone by clearing the release of four Pakistanis in Indian prisons, reciprocating a goodwill gesture by Islamabad.

"The home minister has approved the release of four Pakistani prisoners as a gesture of goodwill," the home ministry said in a statement here.

These prisoners, currently in various jails in Gujarat, will be repatriated from the Attari land border in Punjab June 30 and handed over to the Pakistan Rangers.

On Wednesday, Pakistan released 17 Indians on the eve of the meeting between foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan in Islamabad.

The Indians, including four from Punjab who had strayed into Pakistan, were handed over to Indian authorities at the border.

Chidambaram leaves for Islamabad later Friday. He will represent India at a meeting of SAARC home ministers in Islamabad on Saturday.

The eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) groups Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Maldives and Afghanistan.

Chidambaram will also hold talks with Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

At his meeting with Malik, Chidambaram is expected to press for concrete action against Hafiz Saeed, suspected by India to be the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai carnage.

Speaking in Islamabad, Malik on Thursday said that all matters will be on the table during his meeting with Chidambaram.

Although terrorism figured prominently in the discussions between India's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir Thursday, Chidambaram is expected to take up the issue in greater detail with Malik.

Last week, India gave a dossier containing specific sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) under which Saeed is wanted in India. In the past, Pakistan had cited legal difficulties in prosecuting Saeed.

Chidambaram will also seek to know from his counterpart the status of the trial of seven Pakistanis involved in the Mumbai terror attack, official sources said.