Pakistan, India exchange lists of prisoners

Exchange took place through high commissions of Islamabad and New Delhi

APP/News Desk January 01, 2024
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. PHOTO: FILE


Pakistan on Monday handed over a list of 231 Indian prisoners including 184 fishermen and 47 civilians lodged in its jails to the Indian High Commission.

Similarly, the Indian government also shared the list of 418 Pakistani prisoners in its custody with a representative of the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi which included 337 civilian prisoners and 81 fishermen, a Foreign Office statement said.

The simultaneous exchange of lists took place in pursuance of the Consular Access Agreement of 2008. The agreement requires both India and Pakistan to exchange lists of prisoners in each other’s custody twice a year -- on January 1 and July 1.

According to the list handed to the high commission of Islamabad in New Delhi on July 1, 2023, there were 417 Pakistanis in Indian jails including 74 fishermen.

Similarly, Pakistan had handed over a list of 308 Indian prisoners incarcerated in the country, including 266 fishermen, to the high commission of New Delhi in Islamabad.

The agreement stated that the governments of both countries would provide consular access. This has to be provided within three months to the citizens of one country – under arrest, detention, or imprisonment – in the other.

Read also: Pakistan, India to swap inmates lists today

Each government undertook to expeditiously inform the other of the sentences awarded to the convicted nationals of the other country. Both governments agreed to release and repatriate persons within one month of confirmation of their national status and completion of sentences.

In case of arrest, detention or sentence made on political or security grounds, each side might examine the matter on its merits. It was also agreed that in special cases, which called for or required compassionate and humanitarian considerations, each side might exercise its discretion subject to its laws and regulations to allow the early release and repatriation of the persons.

The government of India has been urged to release and repatriate all those Pakistani civilian prisoners and fishermen, who have completed their respective sentences and whose national status stands confirmed.

Fishermen of both the neighbouring countries are often arrested as they enter the other country’s territories as there is no clear demarcation of the maritime border in the Arabian Sea. Apart from that, the fishermen do not have boats equipped with the technology to know their precise location.


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