New Delhi: As part of the tradition on New Year, Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday stated that India and Pakistan exchanged, through diplomatic channels, simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody.
The MEA stated that the exercise is to keep the provisions 2008 Agreement under which such lists are exchanged on January 1 and July 1, every year.
As per the practice, India handed over lists of 267 Pakistan civilian prisoners and 99 fishermen to Pakistan who are in India’s custody. In a similar way, Pakistan has also shared lists of 55 civilian prisoners and 227 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or believed-to-be Indians.
After the list was exchanged, the Central government on Wednesday called for early release and repatriation of Indian civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel and fishermen along with their boats from Pakistan’s custody.
India asked the neighbouring country to expedite the release and repatriation of 4 Indian civilian prisoners and 126 Indian fishermen to India whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to the country. Moreover, India has also asked the neighbouring country to provide immediate consular access to 14 believed-to-be Indian civilian prisoners and 100 Indian fishermen who are in Pakistan’s custody.
Seeking Pakistan’s timely action to expedite the grant of visas to the members of the medical expert team and facilitate their visit to Pakistan to assess the mental condition of believed-to-be Indian prisoners, India asked Pakistan to arrange early visit of the Joint Judicial Committee to the country. The Central government also asked Pakistan to organise an early visit of the 4-member team to Karachi in connection with release and repatriation of 22 Indian fishing boats.
Saying that it is committed to addressing the issues of prisoners and fishermen in each other’s country, India urged Pakistan to expedite necessary action at its end to confirm the nationality status of 82 Pakistan prisoners, including fishermen, whose repatriaton is pending for want of nationality confirmation by Pakistan.