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26 Pakistani prisoners shifted from Jammu and Kashmir to Punjab

14 October, 2009

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JAMMU: Twenty-six Pakistani prisoners, including five militants, have been shifted from Jammu and Kashmir jails to Amritsar in Punjab to provide them access to the Pakistani consulate, an official said Tuesday.

Pakistanis and residents of Azad Kashmir, most of whom had inadvertently crossed the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan, were shifted to Amritsar late Monday for consular access as a prelude to their release, the official was quoted as saying by IANS.

Amritsar, about 250 km southwest of Jammu, is the closest point to the Wagah border crossing between India and Pakistan. Wagah is about 30 km west of Amritsar.

The process of setting free Pakistani prisoners was started two years ago. But after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the process of providing consular access to them and Pakistani authorities accepting them came to a halt.

"We are hoping that Pakistan would accept its citizens this time," a senior official said.

Among the 26 are five militants, the official said. Three of them are from Pakistan and the rest are from Azad Kashmir.

The Pakistani prisoners had been lodged in different jails across the state, including the Central Jail in Srinagar and the Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu.


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