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Updated January 1st, 2024 at 21:34 IST

India asks Pakistan to expedite release of prisoners as their jail term nears end

India has asked Pakistan to expedite the release and repatriation of 184 Indian fishermen as their jail terms near completion.

Digital Desk
prisoners
India and Pakistan exchange list of prisoners as part of a 2008 pact. | Image:Shutterstock
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India, on January 1, asked Pakistan to expedite the release and repatriation of 184 Indian fishermen as their jail terms near completion. In an official statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that Islamabad has also been asked to provide immediate consular access to 12 civilian prisoners in Pakistan's custody, who are believed to be Indian.

The request was made by the Indian side under the framework of a 2008 pact as part of which both the nations exchange lists of prisoners and fishermen on January 1 and July 1 every calendar year. 

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While India shared lists of 337 civilian prisoners and 81 fishermen in its custody, who are Pakistani or are believed to be Pakistani, Pakistan has shared lists of 47 civilian prisoners and 184 fishermen in its custody, who are Indian or are believed to be Indian, says MEA.

"The government of India 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 said.

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"In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 184 Indian fishermen, who have completed their sentence. In addition, Pakistan has been asked to provide immediate consular access to the remaining 12 civilian prisoners in Pakistan's custody, who are believed to be Indian," the Ministry added. 

According to the MEA, Pakistan has been requested to ensure the safety, security and welfare of all Indian and believed-to-be Indian civilian prisoners and fishermen, pending their release and repatriation to India.

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"India remains committed to addressing, on priority, all humanitarian matters, including those pertaining to prisoners and fishermen in each other's country," it said.

"In this context, India has urged Pakistan to expedite necessary action at its end to confirm the nationality status of 65 believed-to-be Pakistani prisoners, including fishermen, whose repatriation is pending for want of nationality confirmation from Pakistan," the MEA further said. 

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As a result of sustained efforts by the Centre, 2,639 Indian fishermen and 67 civilian prisoners have been repatriated from Pakistan since 2014. In 2023, 478 Indian fishermen and nine Indian civilian prisoners came back home. 

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Published January 1st, 2024 at 21:34 IST

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