189 Prisoners ‘Missing’ in India: Pakistan

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New Delhi: When both the countries exchanged the ‘customary’ lists on Friday, Pakistan alleged of discrepancy from the Indian side. While 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 of these are fishermen.

India and Pakistan on Friday exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously in New Delhi and Islamabad, the lists of nationals (including civil prisoners and fishermen) of each country lodged in the jails of the other country consistent with the provisions of the Agreement on Consular Access between India and Pakistan, MEA said in a statement.

The agreement, which was signed on 31 May 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.

The issue of prisoners, particularly fishermen, is a sensitive one for both the countries as a joint statement was issued post Modi-Sharif meeting last year in Ufa which called for release of fishermen in each other’s custody, along with their boats, within a period of 15 days. In fact, the meeting in Ufa itself was set up after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called Nawaz Sharif during the Ramzan and told him india was going to release Pakistani fishermen as a goodwill gesture in the holy month. Even then though, the two countries differed on the number of Pakistan fishermen in India.

MEA said that the two countries also exchanged the list of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations between India and Pakistan.

The agreement, which was signed on 31 December 1988 and entered into force on 27 January 1991, provides that the two countries inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the Agreement on the first of January of every calendar year. This is the twenty fifth consecutive exchange of such list between the two countries, the first one having taken place on 1 January 1992.

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