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SOURCE: IANS

India and Pakistan on Sunday exchanged the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad. Under the provisions of the 2008 Agreement on Consular Access, such lists are exchanged every year on January 1 and July 1.

India shared lists of 339 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 95 Pakistani fishermen currently in Indian custody. Similarly, Pakistan has shared lists of 51 civilian prisoners and 654 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or are believed to be Indians.

The 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. In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 631 Indian fishermen and two Indian civilian prisoners, who have completed their sentence and whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistan.

Pakistan has been asked to provide immediate consular access to the remaining 30 fishermen and 22 civilian prisoners in Pakistan’s custody, who are believed to be Indian.

“India remains committed to addressing, on priority, all humanitarian matters, including those pertaining to prisoners and fishermen in each other’s country. In this context, India has also urged Pakistan to expedite necessary action at its end to confirm the nationality status of 71 Pakistani prisoners, including fishermen, whose repatriation is pending for want of nationality confirmation from Pakistan,” said the Ministry of External Affairs (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, the MEA added.