Feedback | Monday, July 15, 2024

India, Pakistan exchange list of civilian prisoners, fishermen

India and Pakistan conducted their biannual exchange of lists detailing civilian prisoners and fishermen held in each other’s custody on Monday, as confirmed by India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

This exchange, mandated by the 2008 bilateral Agreement on Consular Access, occurs every January 1 and July 1. India reported 366 civilian prisoners and 86 fishermen in its custody, while Pakistan listed 43 civilian prisoners and 211 fishermen believed to be Indian nationals.

“The Government of India has called for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, fishermen along with their boats, and missing Indian defence personnel from Pakistan’s custody. Pakistan has been asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 185 Indian fishermen and civilian prisoners, who have completed their sentence. In addition, Pakistan has been asked to provide immediate consular access to the 47 civilian prisoners and fishermen in Pakistan’s custody, who are believed-to-be-Indian and have not been provided consular access so far,” the MEA said in an official release.

“Pakistan has been requested 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,” it added.

“In this context, India has urged Pakistan to expedite the nationality verification process of 75 believed-to-be-Pakistani civilian prisoners and fishermen in India’s custody, whose repatriation is pending for want of nationality confirmation from Pakistan,” the MEA said.

Since 2014, India has successfully repatriated 2,639 Indian fishermen and 71 civilians from Pakistan, with 491 of these occurring since 2023.

(Inputs from ANI)

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