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Pakistan claims 189 prisoners ‘missing’ in India, after countries exchange lists

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Even as India and Pakistan exchanged prisoners on Friday, the Pakistani establishment has found a reason to be unhappy.

According to a report in an English daily, Pakistan has claimed that there 189 such personnel who are ‘missing’ in India.

India and Pakistan on Friday exchanged a list of their nuclear installations under a bilateral agreement that bars them from attacking each other’s atomic facilities. The two countries also exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the lists of nationals (including civil prisoners and fishermen) of each country lodged in their respective jails.

The agreement pertaining to nuclear installations which was signed on December 31, 1988 and entered into force on January 27, 1991 entails that the two countries should inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the Agreement on January 1 every year.

External Affairs Ministry issued a statement which said the two countries exchanged the list of prisoners lodged in the jails of the other country consistent with the provisions of the Agreement on Consular Access between India and Pakistan.

The agreement on prisoners, which was signed on May 31, 2008, provides that a comprehensive list of nationals of each country lodged in other country’s jails has to be exchanged twice each year, on January 1 and July 1 while the list of nuclear installations is exchanged only on January 1.

When both the countries exchanged the ‘customary’ lists on Friday, Pakistan alleged discrepancy from the Indian side. While the Indian list showed that there were 271 Pakistani prisoners, including 17 fishermen, in India, the Pakistani list stated that there were 460 prisoners from their country in Indian jails. In addition to this, the Pakistani list claims that 113, not 17, of these are fishermen.

Islamabad will take up the issue with New Delhi even before foreign secretary S Jaishankar travels to Pakistan on January 25 to discuss the modalities and schedule of the new comprehensive bilateral dialogue between the two countries.

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