Two Pakistani citizens were handed over to Pakistan Rangers at the Wagah border crossing in Punjab on Tuesday.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah sanctioned the repatriation of the two boys, who were held by the Border Security Force (BSF) after they entered Indian territory in 2018.
Punjab: India, today repatriated two Pakistani nationals who had served their sentences, & handed them over to the Pakistani Rangers at the Attari/Wagah border. pic.twitter.com/j2MPu2021A— ANI (@ANI) January 14, 2020
Mubshar Bilal, 17, from Pakistan’s Kasur district, inadvertently crossed the international border in February 2018 near Amritsar. He was acquitted by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) more than a year ago but faced a delay in his release due to diplomatic hurdles.
Sajjad Haider, who crossed the border in December 2018 according to Pakistan's ARY news, was held in Delhi.
The news of the boys' release comes amid rising tensions with civilians reported injured on both sides of the border after persistent artillery fire. The two nuclear-armed nations have accused each other of violating the 2003 ceasefire agreement over 3,000 times in the past year.
Two Indian civilians were killed along the border in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district last Friday. One of them, identified as Mohammad Aslam, 28, is believed to have been beheaded by the Border Action Team. Three others were injured after being hit by a mortar shell fired by the Pakistani Army.
Pakistan has protested over the death of 24-year-old Muhammad Ishtiaque in cross border firing from the Indian side.