Feedback | Tuesday, July 23, 2024

01/07/24 | 3:30 pm

India, Pakistan exchange list of civilian prisoners, fishermen

India and Pakistan exchanged lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in each other’s custody on Monday, as confirmed by the Ministry of External Affairs.

The lists were shared in accordance with the provisions of the bilateral Agreement on Consular Access 2008, which mandates annual exchanges on January 1 and July 1, stated an MEA release.

India shared a list comprising 366 civilian prisoners and 86 fishermen in its custody with Pakistan. Pakistan, in return, provided the “names of 43 civilian prisoners and 211 fishermen in its custody, who are Indian or believed to be Indian,” according to the MEA.

“The Government of India has urged Pakistan to promptly release and repatriate civilian prisoners, fishermen, and missing Indian defense personnel held in Pakistan’s custody. Specifically, Pakistan has been requested to expedite the release and repatriation of 185 Indian fishermen and civilian prisoners who have completed their sentences. Additionally, Pakistan has been asked to grant immediate consular access to 47 civilian prisoners and fishermen in its custody who are believed to be Indian and have not yet received consular access,” the MEA said in an official statement.

“Pakistan has also been urged to ensure the safety, security, and welfare of all Indian and believed-to-be-Indian civilian prisoners and fishermen until their release and repatriation to India,” it added.

India remains committed to prioritizing humanitarian issues, including those concerning prisoners and fishermen held in each other’s countries.

“In this regard, India has called on Pakistan to expedite the nationality verification process for 75 individuals believed to be Pakistani civilian prisoners and fishermen in India’s custody, whose repatriation is pending due to awaiting nationality confirmation from Pakistan,” the MEA noted.

Since 2014, the Government’s sustained efforts have resulted in the repatriation of 2,639 Indian fishermen and 71 Indian civilian prisoners from Pakistan.

This figure includes 478 Indian fishermen and 13 Indian civilian prisoners repatriated from Pakistan since 2023 to date.

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