India, Pakistan not to imprison inadvertent infiltrators

March 29th, 2008 - 3:47 pm ICT by admin  

Chandigarh, March 29 (IANS) Guards at the international border between India and Pakistan Saturday agreed to return all people who inadvertently cross into each other’s territory within 24 hours of the person being caught. Senior officers of India’s Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers agreed to it at their bi-annual meeting, which concluded here Saturday.

The issue came up for discussion between both sides at their four-day meeting held here after recent reports that many innocent people were languishing in prisons in the two countries after inadvertently crossing to the other side.

“An endeavour has been made through this forum to expedite the repatriation of inadvertent border crossers to minimise the miseries of the families of those prisoners who continue to remain in jails of India and Pakistan due to lengthy and complicated repatriation procedures,” said Major General Muhammad Haroon Aslam, Pakistan Rangers’ director general.

Haroon was heading the 14-member Pakistani delegation.

BSF additional director general of police (north-west) G.S. Gill said that the meeting between both sides was held in a very cordial and constructive atmosphere.

“We concentrated on issues that affect day to day life at the border. Both sides have resolved to create more awareness among the border population to reduce the incidence of inadvertent crossings,” Gill said.

Both sides exchanged lists of prisoners in each other’s countries and agreed to expedite the process for their release, he added.

They also agreed that border commanders should resolve local issues at their own level and only major issues should be kept for meetings between senior officers or the bi-annual conference between the two sides.

“The issues were discussed professionally and firmly. Smuggling was one of the important issues discussed,” Aslam said.

The issues that dominated the talks included border crossings, smuggling, human trafficking, constructions along the border and drug trafficking.

While the BSF side pointed to increased trafficking of drugs like heroin from the Pakistani side, the Rangers said that liquor was being smuggled from India.

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