New Delhi, India on Saturday called for the early release and repatriation of Indian prisoners in Pakistan’s custody, as the two sides exchanged the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody, as well as the nuclear installations and facilities in each other’s country.
The exchange of lists of prisoners is in keeping with a 2008 Agreement under which such lists are exchanged every year on 1st January and 1st July.
India handed over lists of 282 Pakistani 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, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
The exchange of the list of nuclear installations and facilities in each other’s country is covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between India and Pakistan.
The Agreement, which was signed on 31 December 1988 and entered into force on 27 January 1991, provides, inter alia, that India and Pakistan inform each other of the nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the Agreement on the first of January of every calendar year.
This is the 31st consecutive exchange of such lists between the two countries. The first one took place on January 1, 1992.
The Government on Saturday 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 two Indian civilian prisoners and 356 Indian fishermen to India whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistan, the MEA said.
In addition, Pakistan has 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, it said.
The Government also requested 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.
It was also proposed to organise an early visit of the Joint Judicial Committee to Pakistan.
India remains committed to addressing, on priority, all humanitarian matters, including those pertaining to prisoners and fishermen in each other’s country, the statement said.
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.
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, it said.