India and Pakistan on Wednesday exchanged lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their respective custodies as per the provisions of a 2008 agreement.
India handed over lists of 265 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 97 fishermen in its custody to Pakistan, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
Similarly, Pakistan has shared lists of 54 civilian prisoners and 270 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or believed-to-be Indians, the MEA said.
The Indian 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, it said.
In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of seven Indian civilian prisoners and 106 Indian fishermen to India whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistan, the MEA said.
Pakistan has also been asked to provide immediate consular access to Indian fishermen and 18 believed-to-be Indian civilian prisoners who are in Pakistan’s custody, it said.
The government has also sought from Pakistan that it expedite the grant of visas to the members of the medical experts’ team and facilitate their visit to that country to assess the mental condition of believed-to-be Indian prisoners of unsound mind, lodged in different Pakistani jails, the MEA said.
The Indian government has also sought from Pakistan that it organise an early visit of the Joint Judicial Committee to that country and to organise an 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 MEA said.
India has also urged Pakistan to expedite necessary action at its end to confirm the nationality status of 88 Pakistani prisoners, including fishermen, whose repatriation is pending for want of nationality confirmation by Pakistan, it said.
India and Pakistan exchanged the list of prisoners in keeping with the provisions of the 2008 Agreement under which such lists are exchanged every year on January 1 and July 1.