New Delhi: India and Pakistan on Tuesday exchanged the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen, through diplomatic channels simultaneously in New Delhi and Islamabad.
The exercise was undertaken in adherence to the provisions of the 2008 Agreement under which such lists are exchanged on January 1 and July 1 every year.
Pakistan shared a list of 54 civilian prisoners and 483 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or are believed to be Indians, while New Delhi handed over to Islamabad a list containing the names of 249 Pakistan civilian prisoners and 98 fishermen.
The Indian government has called for early release and repatriation of their prisoners and fishermen with their boats. Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 17 Indian civilian prisoners and 369 Indian fishermen, whose nationality has been confirmed.
Immediate consular access has also been sought for the remaining prisoners and fishermen to facilitate their early release and repatriation.
India also asked Pakistan to expedite response in the case of 80 Pakistan prisoners who have completed their sentences and await repatriation for want of nationality confirmation by Pakistan.
To take forward the understanding reached to address the humanitarian issues, especially with respect to elderly, women and mentally unsound prisoners, India has already shared the details of the reconstituted Joint Judicial Committee and that of the Indian medical expert’s team to visit Pakistan to meet the mentally unsound prisoners and asked to expedite their visit.
Pakistan has also been requested to expedite the visit of a group of fishermen representatives to facilitate the repatriation of Indian fishing boats, presently held in Pakistan’s custody at the earliest.