India exchanges list of prisoners with Pak, seeks release of 229 Indian fishermen

India and Pakistan on Sunday exchanged through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen of each country lodged in the jails.

“This is in keeping with the provisions of the 2008 Agreement under which such lists are exchanged on 1 January and 1 July every year,” an MEA statement said here.

Lists of 249 civilian prisoners and 108 fishermen were handed over to Pakistan from Indian side while

Pakistan has shared lists of 53 civilian prisoners and 418 fishermen in its custody, “who are Indians or believed to be Indians”, the statement said.

The Government of India has emphasised on the need for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel and fishermen along with their boats.

“In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release of 9 Indian civilian prisoners and 229 Indian fishermen, who have completed their sentences and whose nationality have been confirmed,” the statement said.

The Government of India also sought “immediate consular access” for the remaining prisoners and fishermen to facilitate their early release and repatriation.

“In order to take further the understanding reached to address the humanitarian issues, especially with respect to elderly, women and mentally unsound prisoners, India has already shared the details of the reconstituted Joint Judicial Committee and that of the Indian medical experts team to visit Pakistan to meet the mentally unsound prisoners,” the statement said.

Pakistan has also been requested to allow the visit of a group of fishermen representatives to facilitate the repatriation of Indian fishing boats, presently held in Pakistan’s custody, at the earliest, the MEA said.

 

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