India and Bangladesh have put forward joint proposal for the "simultaneous repatriation" of prisoners held since the war with Pakistan.
SV ZOOM INTO CU Mr. Singh seated at table
Mr. Singh speaks
SOUND STARTS: "As you know..."
"As you know, India and Bangladesh have made a joint declaration and in this joint declaration, after recounting their joint position on the sub-continental matters, they have solemnly declared as follows: 'Without prejudice to the respective positions to the government of Indian and the Government of Bangladesh, the two governments are ready to seek a solution to all humanitarian problems for simultaneous repatriation of Pakistani prisoners of war and civilian internees (except those required by the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh for trial on criminal charges), the repatriation of Bengalis forcibly detained in Pakistan and the repatriation of Pakistanis is Bangladesh -- that is all non-Bengalis who owe allegiance and have opted for repatriation to Pakistan."
Initials BB/0250 TH/PN/BB/0257
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: India and Bangladesh have put forward joint proposal for the "simultaneous repatriation" of prisoners held since the war with Pakistan. Making the announcement in Delhi yesterday (Wednesday), Indian Government spokesman Mr. S.K. Singh said that the terms of the proposals included Bengalis stranded in Pakistan, and Pakistanis still in Bangladesh and India -- except for those facing trial for war crimes.
About 90,000 Pakistani prisoners are still held in India 16 months after the war of December 1971. On the other hang, Bangladesh officials claim there are upwards of 200,000 Bengalis still being held in Pakistan.
The proposals followed four days of talks in Delhi, and represented a considerable shift of position for Bangladesh, which had previously refused to discuss repatriation before Pakistan officially recognised the new nation.
There follows an extract of Mr. Singh's announcement of the proposals:
SYNOPSIS: India and Bangladesh announced agreement on repatriating prisoners of war on Wednesday. But they still need Pakistan's agreement. The announcement from Delhi: