Home >Politics >Policy >India seeks early release of Indians lodged in Pakistan jails

New Delhi: India on Sunday sought the early release and repatriation of missing Indian defence personnel, civilian prisoners and fishermen from Pakistan as the two countries exchanged lists of prisoners and fishermen lodged in each other’s prisons, a statement from the Indian foreign ministry said.

The exchange is in keeping with the provisions of a 2008 agreement under which such lists are exchanged on 1 January and 1 July every year.

This comes amid an uptick in tensions between the two countries with a 2003 ceasefire pact between the neighbours violated on almost a daily basis with civilian and military casualties on both sides. Peace talks between the neighbours have been at a standstill since 2013 with attempts to get it going since 2014 running aground.

According to the Indian statement, “lists of 249 civilian prisoners and 108 fishermen were handed over to Pakistan."

“Pakistan has shared lists of 53 civilian prisoners and 418 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or believed to be Indians," the Indian statement said—something confirmed by Pakistan in a statement from its foreign office that was shared by its high commission in New Delhi.

“The government has emphasised on the need 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 of nine Indian civilian prisoners and 229 Indian fishermen, who have completed their sentences and whose nationality have been confirmed. Immediate consular access has also been sought for the remaining prisoners and fishermen to facilitate their early release and repatriation," the Indian statement said.

“In order to take further 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 mentally unsound prisoners. Pakistan has also been requested to allow the visit of a group of fishermen’s representatives to facilitate the repatriation of Indian fishing boats, presently held in Pakistan’s custody, at the earliest," it added.

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