As far as the operation in North Waziristan is concerned, it will be purely Islamabads sovereign decision. No decision has yet been taken in this regard, said the Spokesman of the Foreign Office at a press briefing here on Thursday.
The representatives of the two nuclear-armed South Asian states need to listen, talk and engage with each other with sincerity to achieve peace and bring prosperity in the region and settle the differences and disputes, Pakistan said on Thursday. Our two countries do need to build mutual trust and confidence, the Spokesperson of Foreign Office said during a weekly press briefing, adding that Pakistan had always welcomed the talks and it would continue doing this.
The Spokesperson further informed media men that according to the Consular Access Agreement between Pakistan and India signed on 21 May 2008, both countries were required to exchange list of prisoners in each others custody on the 1st January and 1st July every year. The agreement also provides intimation of the arrest and consular access to prisoners within 90 days of the arrest.
The Foreign Office said that according to the list given to Pakistan by Indian authorities on 1st January 2010, there were 633 Pakistani prisoners including 509 civil prisoners and 124 fishermen in the Indian jails. In response to the humanitarian gesture given by the Prime Minister, whereby 100 Indian fishermen were released by Pakistan on 24 December 2009, India has released 31 fishermen on 2 January 2010, he added. 17 Pakistani civil prisoners were released by India on 27 March, following of the order by the Indian Supreme Court, the Foreign Office said. According to the list, there are now 585 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails. The list provided by India on 22 December 2009, however, does not include the name of 18 missing defence personnel of Pakistan. According to the information, there are over 900 Pakistani prisoners languishing in Indian jails.
The Foreign Office said that Pakistan was fully following the Agreement and dealt with the prisoner issue as a humanitarian issue. Therefore, it has always taken initiative for their early release. Nevertheless, India is yet to provide consular access to over 100 Pakistani prisoners.
It may be mentioned that Pakistan has released 2,997 prisoners whereas India has released 989 Pakistani prisoners since 2003.
The Spokesperson informed reporters that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, on the invitation of the Foreign Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt, would pay an official visit to Egypt from 22-23 May 2010 to co-chair the 3rd session of the Pakistan-Egypt Joint Ministerial Commission. He added that Pakistan and Egypt enjoyed close fraternal relations. These relations are based on common bonds of religion, culture and commonality of interests. Regarding Saudi Arabia, he said that the two countries enjoyed great brotherly relations and both states had been cooperating with each other in all areas including terrorism.