New Delhi: India and Pakistan on Tuesday exchanged details of civilian prisoners and fishermen lodged in each other’s jails.
The Ministry of External Affairs or MEA said India handed over to Pakistan lists of 249 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 98 fishermen in its custody.
Pakistan has shared lists of 54 civilian prisoners and 483 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or are believed-to-be-Indians.
The lists were exchanged in keeping with the provisions of a 2008 agreement under which such lists of prisoners are shared on January 1 and July 1 every year.
The MEA said India has called for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel and fishermen along with their boats.
“In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 17 Indian civilian prisoners and 369 Indian fishermen to India whose nationality has been confirmed,” it said.
“Immediate consular access has also been sought for the remaining prisoners and fishermen to facilitate their early release and repatriation,” it said.
India has also asked Pakistan to expedite response in the case of 80 Pakistani 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 experts team to visit Pakistan to meet the prisoners.
The MEA said India has also asked Pakistan to expedite the visit of the panel. “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,” it said.