India and Pakistan today exchanged the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody. The lists were exchanged through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad. India handed over lists of 249 Pakistan civilian prisoners and 98 fishermen in its custody.
Pakistan has shared lists of 54 civilian prisoners and 483 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or believed-to-be-Indians. The move is in keeping with the provisions of the 2008 Agreement under which such lists are exchanged on 1st January and 1st July, every year.
External Affairs Ministry, in a statement said the government has called for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel and fishermen along with their boats. The Ministry said, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 17 Indian civilian prisoners and 369 Indian fishermen to India whose nationality has been confirmed. Immediate consular access has also been sought for the remaining prisoners and fishermen to facilitate their early release and repatriation.
India has also asked Pakistan to expedite response in the case of 80 Pakistan prisoners who have completed their sentences and await repatriation for want of nationality confirmation by Pakistan. Pakistan has also been requested to expedite the visit of a group of fishermen representatives to facilitate the repatriation of Indian fishing boats, presently held in Pakistan’s custody at the earliest.