India is scheduled to hand over the body of Shakirullah, a Pakistani inmate stoned to death by other inmates in Rajasthan’s Jaipur Central Jail mid last month, later today (Saturday), sources said.
Sources further mentioned that the deceased Pakistani’s body will be returned to his bereaved family via the Wagah border crossing.
Pakistan, in this regard, had lodged its protest with India after the inspector general of police (IG) for Rajasthan and in-charge of prisons confirmed the news of Shakilullah’s murder on February 20.
Shakirullah had been in the Indian jail since 2001.
On the other hand, Pakistan had earlier on Friday handed over Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman to Indian authorities at the Wagah border crossing as a “peace gesture” to de-escalate the rising tensions between the two South Asian neighbouring countries.
Abhinandan had been arrested on February 27, 2019, when his warplane crashed in Azad Jammu & Kashmir after being shot down by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) for violating the airspace.
The Wagah crossing gate is famed for hosting an elaborate daily ceremony by Indian and Pakistani soldiers at sundown.
Thousands of people had already gathered on the Indian side early Friday to welcome the pilot home, an AFP journalist said.
The Pakistani Foreign Office had said Abhinandan was treated “with dignity and in line with international law” while in captivity.
At the same time, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa had underscored that “Pak shall surely respond to any aggression in self-defence”.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said the de-escalation efforts made by Pakistan should not be considered as weakness.
“Don’t take this any further, Pakistan will be forced to retaliate,” he had warned.
“Despite us opening the Kartarpur corridor, we received no response from India,” he said.
“When the Pulwama attack happened, we were blamed within 30 minutes,” the premier lamented. “I asked them to share evidence.”
“We did not want to inflict any casualty on India as we wanted to act in a responsible manner.I had said that if India does something then we will respond.”
Shortly then, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj had commented that “India does not wish to see further escalation of the situation”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was yet to make a public comment.