New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) India and Pakistan on Wednesday exchanged, through diplomatic channels, the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody.
The exchange happened as per the provisions of the 2008 agreement under which such lists are exchanged every year on January 1 and July 1, an official statement of the Ministry of External Affairs said.
India handed over the lists of 265 Pakistan civilian prisoners and 97 fishermen in India's custody to Pakistan. Simultaneously, Pakistan shared lists of 54 civilian prisoners and 270 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or are believed to be Indians.
The government called for early release and repatriation of the civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel and fishermen, along with their boats, from Pakistan's custody.
Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of seven Indian civilian prisoners and 106 Indian fishermen to India whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to Islamabad, the statement said. In addition, Pakistan has been asked to provide immediate consular access to Indian fishermen and 18 believed-to-be Indian civilian prisoners who are in its custody.
New Delhi has also asked Islamabad to expedite the grant of visas to the members of the medical experts' team and facilitate their visit to Pakistan to assess the mental condition of believed-to-be Indian prisoners of unsound mind, who have been lodged in different jails of Pakistan; to organise early visit of the joint judicial committee to Pakistan; and to organise early visit of a four-member team to Karachi in connection with the release and repatriation of Indian fishing boats.
The government said that 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 88 Pakistan prisoners, including fishermen, whose repatriation is pending for want of nationality confirmation by Pakistan.