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India Asks Pakistan to Ensure Early Release of Indian Prisoners

Flags of Pakistan (left) and India (right) in the photo.

Flags of Pakistan (left) and India (right) in the photo.

The request came in the context of the exchange of the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen by both the countries as part of a practice to do so on the first day of every calendar year under the framework of a 2008 agreement.

India on Friday called on Pakistan to release and repatriate 185 Indian fishermen and three civilian prisoners whose nationality has already been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistani authorities. In addition, Pakistan has been asked to provide immediate consular access to Indian fishermen and 22 civilian prisoners, who are in its custody and are believed to be Indians, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

The request came in the context of the exchange of the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen by both the countries as part of a practice to do so on the first day of every calendar year under the framework of a 2008 agreement. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, India also requested Pakistan to ensure the safety, security and welfare of all Indian and believed-to-be Indian civil prisoners and fishermen.

In a statement, the MEA said India handed over lists of 263 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 77 fishermen in India's custody to the neighbouring country. Similarly, Pakistan shared lists of 49 civilian prisoners and 270 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or believed to be Indians, it added. "The government has called for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel and fishermen, along with their boats, from Pakistan's custody," the MEA said.

"In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of three Indian civilian prisoners and 185 Indian fishermen to India whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistan," it added. In addition, the MEA said Pakistan has been asked to provide immediate consular access to Indian fishermen and 22 civilian prisoners who are in its custody and are believed to be Indians.

"The government also requested Pakistan to expedite the grant of visas to the members of the medical experts team and facilitate their visit to Pakistan to assess the mental condition of believed-to-be Indian prisoners of unsound mind, lodged in different jails of Pakistan," it said. "It was also proposed to organise an early visit of the Joint Judicial Committee to Pakistan," it added.

The MEA said India remains committed to addressing, on priority, all humanitarian matters, including those pertaining to prisoners and fishermen in each other's country. "In this context, India has also urged Pakistan to expedite necessary action at its end to confirm the nationality status of 80 Pakistan prisoners, including fishermen, whose repatriation is pending for want of nationality confirmation by Pakistan," it said.

India and Pakistan exchange the lists of prisoners every year on January 1 and July 1 in accordance with the provisions of the 2008 agreement.


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