January 2, 2021 3:25:02 am
India on Friday called on Pakistan to release and repatriate 185 Indian fishermen and three civilian prisoners whose nationality has already been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistani authorities.
In addition, Pakistan has been asked to provide immediate consular access to Indian fishermen and 22 civilian prisoners, who are in its custody and are believed to be Indians, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
The requests came during the exchange of the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen by both countries on the first day of every calendar year as part of a practice under the framework of a 2008 agreement.
In view of the pandemic, India also requested Pakistan to ensure the safety, security and welfare of all Indian and believed-to-be Indian civil prisoners and fishermen.
In a statement, the MEA said India handed over lists of 263 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 77 fishermen in India’s custody to the neighbouring country. Similarly, Pakistan shared lists of 49 civilian prisoners and 270 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or believed to be Indians, it added.
“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,” the MEA said. “In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of three Indian civilian prisoners and 185 Indian fishermen to India whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistan,” it added.
“The government also requested Pakistan 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, lodged in different jails of Pakistan,” the MEA said.
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