India and Pakistan on Wednesday exchanged the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody, Ministry of External Affairs said.
The lists were shared in keeping with the provisions of the 2008 Agreement, under which such lists are exchanged every year on January 1 and July 1, an MEA statement read.
India handed over lists of 265 Pakistan civilian prisoners and 97 fishermen in India’s custody to Pakistan.
Similarly, Pakistan has shared lists of 54 civilian prisoners and 270 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or believed-to-be Indians. The sharing of lists was taken place through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad.
India has called for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel and fishermen, along with their boats, from Pakistan’s custody.
“In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 7 Indian civilian prisoners and 106 Indian fishermen to India whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistan. In addition, Pakistan has been asked to provide immediate consular access to Indian fishermen and 18 believed-to-be Indian civilian prisoners who are in Pakistan’s custody,” the statement read.
New Delhi has also sought Pakistan to expedite the grant of visas to the members of the medical experts’ team and facilitate their visit to Pakistan to assess the mental condition of believed-to-be Indian prisoners of unsound mind, lodged in different jails of Pakistan; to organise early visit of the Joint Judicial Committee to Pakistan; to organise early visit of the four-member team to Karachi in connection with release and repatriation of Indian fishing boats.
“India remains committed to addressing, on priority, all humanitarian matters, including those pertaining to prisoners and fishermen in each other’s country,” the statement stated.
In this context, India has also urged Pakistan to expedite necessary action at its end to confirm the nationality status of 88 Pakistan prisoners, including fishermen, whose repatriation is pending for want of nationality confirmation by Pakistan.