India, Pakistan exchange lists of prisoners in custody

There are 339 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 95 fishermen in Indian custody, while Pakistan shared a list of 51 civilian prisoners and 654 fishermen

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By: Urvashi Khona | NEW DELHI
Updated: 01 January, 2023 1:46 pm IST

The Indian and Pakistan governments exchanged the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody through diplomatic channels in New Delhi and Islamabad, today.

Under the provisions of the 2008 Agreement on Consular Access, such lists are exchanged every year on January 1 and July 1. The agreement, which entered into force on January 27, 1991, provides, inter alia, that India and Pakistan inform each other of the nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the agreement on the first of January of every calendar year.

“India and Pakistan today exchanged, through diplomatic channels, simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody. Under the provisions of the 2008 Agreement on Consular Access, such lists are exchanged every year on January 1 and July 1,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

There are 339 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 95 Pakistani fishermen in Indian custody currently. Pakistan has also shared lists of 51 civilian prisoners and 654 fishermen who are Indian or believed to be Indian in its custody, as per reports.

The Indian Government has called for the release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing defence personnel, and fishermen held by Pakistan.

“In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 631 Indian fishermen and two Indian civilian prisoners, who have completed their sentences and whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistan. In addition, Pakistan has been asked to provide immediate consular access to the remaining 30 fishermen and 22 civilian prisoners in Pakistan’s custody, who are believed to be Indian,” the MEA said.

India remains committed to addressing, on a priority basis, all humanitarian matters, including those pertaining to prisoners and fishermen in each other’s countries.

In this context, India has also urged Pakistan to expedite necessary action at its end to confirm the nationality status of 71 Pakistani prisoners, including fishermen, whose repatriation is pending for want of nationality confirmation from Pakistan.

The Indian government also requested Pakistan to ensure the safety, security and welfare of all Indian and believed-to-be Indian civilian prisoners and fishermen, pending their release and repatriation to India.

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