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India returns body of Pak ‘spy’

world Updated: Mar 11, 2008 03:28 IST

India has returned the body of an alleged Pakistani spy who died in prison to his home country on Monday, less than a week after Pakistan freed an Indian held for 35 years on the same charge.

Indian officials handed over the body of Khalid Mehmood to Pakistani authorities at the main border crossing with Pakistan at Wagah, said Col. Tariq Mahmood, an officer with Pakistan’s border guards. His family collected the body there.

Mehmood, 37, died last month in a New Delhi jail and his brother said the family was informed March 4, the same day that Pakistan released Kashmir Singh, an Indian jailed for spying, as a humanitarian gesture.

Indian authorities did not provide a cause of death. Pakistan and India have a history of bitter ties and they routinely arrest each other’s citizens, often over accusations of spying. Many are held for years, usually without trial or appearing in any court.

Arif Awan, a lawyer for Mehmood’s relatives, said Mehmood was arrested in 2005 after he lost his passport in the Indian city of Mohali, where he had gone to watch a cricket match.