India and Pakistan on Monday exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody.
This is in keeping with the provisions of the 2008 Agreement under which such lists are exchanged on 1st January and 1st July every year.
India handed over lists of 256 Pakistan civilian prisoners and 99 fishermen in India’s custody to Pakistan. Pakistan shared lists of 209 prisoners and 52 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or believed-to-be Indians, the External Affairs Ministry said.
New Delhi has called for an 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 10 Indian civil prisoners and 124 Indian fishermen to India whose nationality has been confirmed.
Apart from this, India has also sought Pakistan to expedite the grant of visas to the members of the medical experts team, proposed to visit Pakistan to assess the mental condition of believed-to-be Indian prisoners of unsound mind, lodged in different jails of Pakistan; organise early visit of the joint judicial committee to Pakistan; and organise early visit of the four-member team to Karachi in connection with the release and repatriation of 22 Indian fishing boats.
New Delhi has also sought immediate consular access to the remaining prisoners and fishermen with the request to facilitate their earliest release and repatriation.
The MEA said India remained committed to addressing, on priority, all humanitarian matters, including those pertaining to prisoners and fishermen in each other’s country. In this context, India also asked Pakistan to expedite its response in the case of 88 Pakistan prisoners, including fishermen, who have completed their sentences and await repatriation for want of nationality confirmation by Pakistan.