India has asked Pakistan to release and repatriate 631 Indian fishermen and two civilian prisoners who have completed their jail-term and whose nationality has been confirmed. In addition, Islamabad has also been urged to provide immediate consular access to the remaining 30 fishermen and 22 civilian prisoners who have been in Pakistan’s custody and are believed to be Indian, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
India made the request in the context of the exchange of the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen by both the countries as part of a practice to do so on January 1 and July 1 of every calendar year under the framework of a 2008 pact.
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”. The MEA said India shared lists of 339 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 95 Pakistani fishermen currently in Indian custody. India and Pakistan yesterday exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody, MEA said in a statement. It said 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.