New Delhi: Pakistan is likely to give consular access to 102 Indian prisoners later this month. A 100 of these prisoners are in Karachi jail while two are in Rawalpindi. (Also read: New Delhi Hits Out at Pakistan PM For His Minorities Comment)
On January 1, India and Pakistan shared the list of prisoners in each other’s jails. At least 249 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 98 fishermen are in India’s custody while Pakistan has 54 Indian prisoners and 483 fishermen in its custody.
According to the Ministry of external affairs (MEA), 396 Indians are languishing in Pakistani jails despite finishing their jail terms. As part of an agreement between the two countries, list of prisoners and fisherman lodged in their jails are exchanged on January 1 and July 1 every year.
According to WION, India has been engaging with Pakistan on the issue of Indian prisoners. New Delhi had asked Pakistan to repatriate bodies of two Indians from J-K who were washed away to the other side.
The development comes in the wake of both the countries clearing each other’s pending diplomatic and official visas.
In December 2018, Pakistan released Indian citizen Hamid Nehal Ansari after six years in jail. Ansari was arrested by Pakistani authorities in 2012 after he was found with a fake passport. He had gone to Pakistan via Afghanistan on a fake passport to meet a girl he befriended on Facebook.
Then, India released two Pakistani nationals _ Imran Warsi and Abdullah Shah. Warsi had come to India in 2004 on a valid visa but overstayed after marrying an Indian girl who he loved. He was caught after trying to make a fake passport in Bhopal and released in 2018, after ten years in jail. Shah, an autistic from Swat, crossed over to India to meet Shah Rukh Khan in 2017.
India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had suggested to Pakistan that the two sides should work together to resolve humanitarian issues related to elderly, women and mentally unsound prisoners in each other’s custody calling for their early release and repatriation. (Sidhant Sibal)