India returns body of Pakistani prisoner, beaten to death
By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA): India on Saturday returned the body of a Pakistani prisoner who was beaten to death last month in reported retaliation over a deadly attack in Kashmir.
The body was handed over to Pakistani authorities at the northeastern Wagah border.
Shakir Ullah, 47, had been serving a life term since 2003 for illegally trespassing into India.
According to Indian media, he was beaten to death in Jaipur jail by two inmates reportedly upset over the killing of more than 40 Indian soldiers in a militant attack in Jammu and Kashmir for which New Delhi blames Islamabad, which Pakistan denies the charge.
The development follows the handing over of the pilot of a downed Indian jet to New Delhi on Friday in a bid to defuse mounting tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.
Footage aired on local Geo News showed four Pakistani border guards carrying a coffin draped in the green and white national flag after receiving the body from Indian authorities.
The body was later handed over his family.
Shehzada Gulfam, brother of the deceased, told reporters that his brother was mentally unwell and had crossed over into India mistakenly.
In another sign of a possible thaw, Pakistan’s Railway Minister Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad announced train services between the two countries will resume on Monday.
Train service was suspended earlier this week amid rising tensions.
Tensions between the South Asian neighbors have escalated following the militant attack on the military convoy in mid-February in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Indian jet intrusions into Pakistani territory and the downing of two Indian aircraft by Pakistan’s Air Force this week further fueled the already rising tensions.
The two sides are also engaged in heavy clashes along Kashmir’s Line of Control (LoC) — a de facto border that divides the disputed Himalayan valley between the archrivals.
Since being partitioned in 1947, the two South Asian nations have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.