Pakistan has sent a ‘memorandum’ to India to expedite the release of fishermen held in the two countries as agreed to between prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his counterpart Narendra Modi during their meeting in Ufa last year.
Sharif’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz told the Senate on Wednesday that Pakistan has sent the memorandum to India to give a concrete shape to the understanding reached between the two leaders, The Dawn reported.
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The two prime ministers had agreed during their meeting in Ufa, in July last year, to work out a mechanism for the release of the detained fishermen within two weeks after ascertainment of their nationalities.
Aziz said the release of the detained fishermen would be expedited and expressed hope that India would agree to the draft.
He said Pakistan had released 1,530 Indian fishermen during the past five years whereas India had freed 380 Pakistanis.
Earlier this week, Pakistan has released 87 Indians, mostly fishermen, who had completed their sentences and were freed after verification of their travel documents sent by the Indian authorities.
After the release of the 87 prisoners, another 457 Indians remain in jail in Karachi and most of them are fishermen arrested for territorial violation.
Responding to another question, Aziz said there were 460 Pakistanis in Indian jails — 347 “civil prisoners” and 113 fishermen, arrested on a variety of charges, including illegal entry into India, overstay, drug smuggling, espionage and terrorism.
During the past three years, India released 329 Pakistanis, including 217 fishermen, from various jails.
Aziz said that under an agreement signed in 2008, the two countries were providing counsellor access to the prisoners and their lists were also exchanged.