India asks Pakistan to release Indian prisoners in its custody
New Delhi: India on Monday asked Pakistan to expedite the release and repatriation of 184 Indian fishermen in view of completion of their jail term.
In addition, 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 Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
India made the request in the context of the exchange of lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen by both the countries as part of a practice to do so on January 1 and July 1 every calendar year under the framework of a 2008 pact.
India has shared lists of 337 civilian prisoners and 81 fishermen in its custody, who are Pakistani or are believed to be Pakistani.
Similarly, Pakistan has shared lists of 47 civilian prisoners and 184 fishermen in its custody, who are Indian or are believed to be Indian, according to the 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.
“In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 184 Indian fishermen, who have completed their sentence,” it said in a statement.
“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,” it said.
The MEA said 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.
“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,” it said.
The MEA said as a result of sustained efforts by the government, 2,639 Indian fishermen and 67 Indian civilian prisoners have been repatriated from Pakistan since 2014.
This includes 478 Indian fishermen and nine Indian civilian prisoners who were repatriated from Pakistan in 2023, it said.