Team of 20 Indian doctors likely to arrive in Pakistan

Team of 20 Indian doctors likely to arrive in Pakistan

*NEW DELHI:* Pakistan and India are currently discussing a proposal by the latter to allow a team of over 20 doctors to visit Pakistan to examine mentally unsound, women, children and elderly prisoners. These Indian prisoners have been awaiting repatriation since the two countries arrived at an understanding earlier this month for their release, reported *Times of India . <link>*

Both countries are in touch over the issue of visas for the doctors but diplomatic sources here said Pakistan may not give visa to such a large number of doctors and medical experts.

It is important for the Indian government to get the mentally unsound prisoners examined by doctors to facilitate their repatriation to India .

The agreement arrived at over the humanitarian issue of prisoners was a product of a meeting between foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood in October 2017. Swaraj had proposed in the meeting that the two sides look to resolve humanitarian issues related to elderly, women, children and mentally unsound prisoners.

India noted in a statement on March 7, days before the diplomat harassment issue made it to the front page of leading dailies in both countries, that Pakistan had responded “positively’’ to Swaraj’s suggestion.

The initiative on prisoners was seen as the first real sign of thaw until it became clear a few days later that Pakistan and India were locked in a bitter exchange over alleged intimidation of diplomats. Pakistan says that its diplomats and other staff faced harassment on 18 occasions between March 7 and March 9.

New Delhi