Afghans demanding ransom to free Pakistanis: Kasuri
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri said on Saturday that Afghan warlords were demanding a ransom to release 643 Pakistanis detained by them.
“We have discussed the matter with the Afghan government and hopefully it will be resolved soon,” he told a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Government Assurances. Committee chairman Senator Anwar Bhinder presided over the meeting. He directed Mr Kasuri to take immediate steps for the prisoners’ release.
The foreign minister told the committee that the Afghan government had already released 612 Pakistani prisoners, but 643 Pakistanis, who had reportedly supported Taliban, were still languishing in the Afghan warlords’ prisons.
“They are demanding a huge ransom for the prisoners’ release and we are thinking about it. We are also considering forming a task force to resolve the problem,” he said. Mr Kasuri told the committee that President Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali and himself were in contact with the Afghan government.
The Senate committee also directed the Defence Ministry to compensate the people of 367 villages before June 30 near the Line of Control. They had suffered due to tension between Pakistan and India.
The committee asked the Industries and Production Ministry to look into the rising prices of locally manufactured cars.
The officials clarified that the ministry could not cut the price of cars on its own. They stressed the need for a join effort by the ministries concerned to help resolve the issue. The ministry officials told the committee a task force had been formed to review the situation and it would give its recommendations to the prime minister.
Communications Ministry officials told the committee that the prime minister would inaugurate a bridge on Nowshera-Jablat road on May 18. —Online