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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has welcomed the decree by President Ashraf Ghani for the release of Pakistani prisoners in Afghanistan who have completed their terms but remain incarcerated due to non-payment of fines and those with up to or less than one month remaining in their prison terms.

"Pakistan appreciates this humanitarian gesture which will provide relief to the individuals and their families covered by this decision," Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said in a statement on Tuesday. He said that Pakistan reaffirms its commitment to continue mutual engagement leading to facilitation and benefits for the people on both sides.

Earlier, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani pardoned several Pakistani prisoners and ordered their release, according to a presidential decree.

The presidential decree does not mention as to how many Pakistanis will be freed.

"In line with the order, Section 18 Article Sixty-four of the Constitution, keeping in view of good faith, to strengthen friendly relations with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, I issue this order to pardon the imprisonment of convicts of the citizens of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan who have been sentenced with the final decision of the courts," the decree stated.

It further stated that those Pakistani prisoners, whose imprisonments have remained up to one month, shall be released and their remaining period shall be pardoned.

The development comes in wake of the Prime Minister Imran Khan's recent visit to Kabul where he held talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on issues of mutual interests, regional situation, and the Afghan peace process.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020