India asks Pakistan to expedite release of Indian civilian prisoners, fishermen
India and Pakistan exchanged the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody
India has asked Pakistan to expedite the release and repatriation of two Indian civilian prisoners and 356 Indian fishermen to India whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistan.
Pakistan has also been asked to provide immediate consular access to 182 Indian fishermen and 17 civilian prisoners who are in Pakistan's custody and are believed to be Indian, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Saturday.
The Government has called for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel and fishermen, along with their boats, from Pakistan's custody, the MEA added.
In keeping with the provisions of a 2008 Agreement, India and Pakistan exchanged the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody, the MEA said.
The lists were exchanged through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad.
Such lists are exchanged every year on January 1 and July 1.
India handed over lists of 282 Pakistan civilian prisoners and 73 fishermen in India's custody to Pakistan.
Similarly, Pakistan has shared lists of 51 civilian prisoners and 577 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or are believed to be Indians, said a press release issued by the MEA.
The MEA said 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 urged Pakistan to expedite necessary action at its end to confirm the nationality status of 68 Pakistan prisoners, including fishermen, whose repatriation is pending for want of nationality confirmation by Pakistan," the MEA press release added.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pakistan has been requested to ensure the safety, security and welfare of all Indian and believed-to-be Indian civil prisoners and fishermen.