Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday announced that it would free 51 Indian fishermen who had completed their prison terms as a gesture of goodwill.

"Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso has decided to release 51 Indian fishermen on humanitarian grounds as a gesture of goodwill. These prisoners have already served their sentences," said a statement from the caretaker premier's office.

Khoso expressed the hope that the Indian government would reciprocate by freeing Pakistani prisoners. The statement did not say when the prisoners would be repatriated.

The decision to release the fishermen was made at a meeting attended by Interim Law Minister Ahmer Bilal Soofi, caretaker Sindh Chief Minister Zahid Qurban Alvi and senior officials of the Interior, Foreign and Law Ministries and the Prime Minister's Secretariat.

Khoso was informed that 482 Indian prisoners are currently in Pakistani jails while 496 Pakistanis are in Indian jails.

The premier directed the Foreign Ministry to initiate dialogue with India for the release of Pakistani prisoners as well as the return of Indian prisoners.


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