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Pak did not fulfil its commitments: ministry

india Updated: Dec 22, 2006 20:25 IST
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India on Friday released all Pakistani prisoners and fishermen who have completed their sentence and whose nationality was confirmed but expressed "disappointment" that Pakistan did not fulfil its commitment to do the same.

Instead, Pakistan has chosen to release only 20 Indian prisoners and 50 fishermen on Saturday out of 412 Indian fishermen whose nationality had been confirmed by New Delhi.

"India has confirmed the national status of 412 Indian fishermen but is disappointed that Pakistan has decided to release only 50 of them," the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

"It is unfortunate that Pakistan has chosen not to fulfil its commitment made last month on the release of fishermen and prisoners," the ministry said. "Government has conveyed its disappointment to Pakistani authorities and expressed the hope that it will release all fishermen and eligible prisoners," it added.

According to a decision taken during foreign-secretary level talks between India's Shivshankar Menon and Pakistan's Riaz Mohammad Khan last month, the two sides set a deadline of December 25, 2006 to release, on humanitarian grounds, all fishermen and prisoners who have completed their sentence and whose national status has been confirmed.

Accordingly, India on Friday freed 24 Pakistani prisoners, along with 3 children and 30 fishermen whose nationality had been confirmed by Pakistan.

"India is prepared to release all the 61 Pakistani fishermen in its custody but confirmation of national status of the remaining 31 fishermen is still awaited from Pakistan," the ministry said.

About 700 Indians are imprisoned in Pakistan, including 532 fishermen.

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