India and Pakistan on Monday exchanged lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad.
A release by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that India handed over lists of 256 Pakistan civilian prisoners and 99 fishermen, while Pakistan has shared lists of 209 fishermen and 52 prisoners in its custody, who are Indians or believed-to-be Indians.
The government 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 10 Indian civil prisoners and 124 Indian fishermen to India whose nationality has been confirmed.
Apart from this, the government has also called upon Pakistan to expedite the grant of visas to the members of the medical experts’ team which is proposed to visit Pakistan to assess the mental condition of believed-to-be Indian prisoners of unsound mind lodged in different jails of Pakistan.
It also called for an early visit of the Joint Judicial Committee to Pakistan and early visit of the four-member team to Karachi in connection with release and repatriation of 22 Indian fishing boats.
Immediate consular access has also been sought for the remaining prisoners and fishermen with the request to facilitate their earliest release and repatriation.
The release said that India remains committed to addressing, on priority, all humanitarian matters including those pertaining to prisoners and fishermen in each other’s country.
In this context, India has 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.
The exchange of lists is in keeping with the provisions of the 2008 Agreement under which these are exchanged on January 1 and July 1 every year.