India Repatriates

A Pakistani paramilitary soldier stand guard as Indian Sikh devotees line up at immigration at the Wagah railway station after crossing the border at Wagah Nov. 2, 2017, as they arrive to mark the 548th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev, which is Nov. 4. Guru Nanak was the founder of the religion of Sikhism and the first of ten Sikh Gurus. (Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI/ATTARI  — India Nov. 2 repatriated to Pakistan nine fishermen and four civilian prisoners along with a child, the External Affairs Ministry said.

On its part, Pakistan issued visas to over 2,600 Sikh pilgrims to attend the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev Nov. 2 through Nov. 11, a Pakistan High Commission release said here.

The prisoners crossed over to Pakistan through the land transit route on the Attari-Wagah border on the basis of emergency travel certificates issued by the Pakistan High Commission, officials said.

Asserting that it attaches high priority to addressing all humanitarian issues, including early release and repatriation of Indian fishermen and prisoners in Pakistan's custody, the MEA said the release of 370 Indian prisoners, including 363 fishermen, has been secured in 2017, so far.

"Nine fishermen and four civilian prisoners from Pakistan and a child were repatriated today via the Attari/Wagah border," an MEA statement said, adding that two Pakistani civilian prisoners were also released Sept. 28, 2017.

Maintaining that visas to Sikh pilgrims were issued in line with Pakistan's efforts to promote religious tourism and people-to-people interactions, the Pakistan High Commission said the government was committed to protecting sacred religious places and providing all possible facilities for the visiting pilgrims of all faiths.

It also said that visas issued by the high commission in New Delhi were in addition to the visas issued to Sikh pilgrims from other countries participating in the event.

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