Islamabad, Pakistan: The simultaneous exchange of lists took place in pursuance of the Consular Access Agreement of 2008. Under the agreement, both countries are required to exchange the lists of prisoners in each other’s custody on 1st January and 1st July, every year, says a statement issued by the foreign office of Pakistan here on Sunday.
The statement says that the Government of Pakistan shared with the Indian High Commission in Islamabad a list of 705 Indian prisoners detained in Pakistan, including 51 civilian prisoners and 654 fishermen.
The Indian Government also shared with the High Commission for Pakistan in New Delhi a list of 434 Pakistani prisoners in India, including 339 civilian prisoners and 95 fishermen.
Separately, Pakistan has requested for early release and repatriation of its 51 civilian prisoners and 94 fishermen, who have completed their respective sentence and their national status stands confirmed. Furthermore, a request for grant of consular access to missing defence personnel of 1965 and 1971 wars, and special consular access to 56 civil prisoners has also been made.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the PAKISTAN INDIA PEOPLES’ FORUM FOR PEACE & DEMOCRACY (PIPFPD) says that 654 Indian fishermen in Pakistan’s prison.
The statement is hereunder:
Today India and Pakistan exchanged the lists of fishermen and civilian prisoners of another country in their custody. Pakistan has shared lists of 654 Indian fishermen and 51 civilian fishermen in its custody. The number of arrested fishermen is increasing continuously. On 1st July 2022, it was 633; on 1st January 2022 it was 577 and on 1st July 2021 it was 558.
Similarly, India shared lists of 95 Pakistani fishermen and 339 civilian prisoners in Indian custody. Pakistan should urgently release and repatriate 631 Indian fishermen and 2 civilian prisoners who have completed their sentences and whose nationalities are also confirmed.
Section 5 of the Agreement on Consular Access signed between India and Pakistan says: Both Governments agree to release and repatriate persons within one month of confirmation of their national status and completion of sentences.
So there is no reason for Pakistan to keep 631 Indian fishermen and 2 civilian prisoners in their custody. Both Governments must implement the Agreement on Consular Access in letter and spirit.
Also, Pakistan should urgently organize a meeting of the Joint Judicial Committee on Prisoners as the last was held in India way back in October 2013.