Islamabad to Free Hundreds of Indian Prisoners to Ease Tensions with New Delhi

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In a major diplomatic overture to normalize tense relations with India, Pakistan has decided to immediately release over 300 Indian prisoners from its jails. Hundreds of people from both sides have been imprisoned for years on the charges of spying despite the fact that most of them had only crossed the borders by mistake. The unilateral diplomatic initiative by Islamabad is aimed at resuming high-level bilateral talks and to discourage what appears to be nationalistic lobbies in both countries to derail the peace process. India in return, however, plans to release only two Pakistani prisoners from as many as 485 inmates. The latest border tension started when five Indian soldiers were killed in the disputed Kashmir region few weeks back. India blames Pakistani military for the killing. Islamabad however, denies the charge. Since then, the armies from both sides are engaged in skirmishes and in many cases have killed each other's soldiers and civilians on either side of the divided border. The fact that who has triggered the latest round of border tension is still a subject of speculations in what appears to be a war mongering media in both countries. However, in the past, the militants have been attacking key Indian strategic installations. And since 2001, they have successfully brought two nuclear armed militaries at the verge of fourth war. The newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is known to be pro-India. His party in the past claimed to have struck a secret deal in 1999 with India to settle the core dispute of Kashmir region by 2001. But Sharif's government was overthrown by the then military Chief General Pervez Musharraf in 1999.

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