Peace process with India likely to gain pace, Foreign Office


Islamabad: The Pakistan Foreign Office said on Thursday that it expected the peace process with India to gain pace after the installation of the new government. The Dispatch News Desk reports.

“We hope that the dialogue process would pick up momentum in all areas,” Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said at the weekly media briefing.  The peace process has been on a virtual hold since the violations of the Line of Control in Kashmir at the start of this year. Tensions resurfaced when an Indian prisoner, Sarbjeet Singh, died after an attack by inmates in Lahore jail and a Pakistani, Sanaullah, was fatally beaten in Jammu jail. Another Pakistani, Abdul Jabbar, was injured in an attack in Tihar prison.

Mr Chaudhry said Pakistan had always emphasised continuity of the peace talks so that outstanding issues could be resolved.  Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, while congratulating PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif on the victory of his party in the May 11 elections, had expressed the hope to work with him to “chart a new course and pursue a new destiny in the relations between our countries”.

Dr Singh also invited Mr Sharif to visit India at “a mutually convenient time”. The PML-N chief, who is set to become the next prime minister, also extended an invitation to the Indian leader to visit Pakistan.

The spokesman said Pakistan was in touch with the Indian authorities over the issue of prisoners. “We have approached the Indian government for focused discussions on the issue of prisoners. We hope that these focused discussions would address all aspects of this important issue, including the release of the 47 prisoners who have completed their sentence.”

There are some 300 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails, of whom 47 have completed their sentences but continue to remain in detention because of delays in completion of release formalities.

The joint India-Pakistan Judicial Committee on Prisoners has made a number of recommendations for humane treatment of prisoners. Although both countries have acknowledged the work done by the body, they have been slow to implement the recommendations.

Asad Haroon
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