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Pakistan Announces Release Of 360 Indian Prisoners On Humanitarian Ground

The prisoners will be released in four batches, scheduled as 100 each on April 8, 15 and 29.

Pakistan Announces Release Of 360 Indian Prisoners On Humanitarian Ground
Pakistan Announces Release Of 360 Indian Prisoners On Humanitarian Ground
outlookindia.com
2019-04-05T20:43:58+0530

Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Friday announced that Pakistan will be releasing 360 Indian prisoners over the month of April, a process which will be carried out in four phases.

Faisal said that in the first phase on April 8, 100 prisoners will be released. In the second phase on April 5, another 100 will be released. In the third phase on April 22, another 100 will be released and in the fourth and last phase on April 29, the remaining 60 prisoners will be released, the Dawn reported.

Providing details regarding the release, the spokesperson said currently there are 347 Pakistani prisoners in India and 537 Indian prisoners in Pakistan.

"Pakistan will release 360 Indian prisoners, of which 355 are fishermen and 5 are civilians," he said.

"It is hoped that India will respond positively to this decision by Pakistan," Faisal said while addressing his weekly briefing to the media in Islamabad.

Pakistan and India frequently arrest fishermen as there is no clear demarcation of the maritime border in the Arabian Sea and these fishermen do not have boats equipped with the technology to know their precise location.

Owing to lengthy and slow bureaucratic and legal procedures, the fishermen usually remain in jail for several months.

In 2018 (as on December 13), four Indian civilian prisoners were released by Pakistan while 21 Pakistani civilian prisoners were released by India, she said.

A total of 508 Indian fishermen were released from Pakistan in 2018 (as on December 13) while 60 Pakistani fishermen were released from India in the same year, Swaraj said.

In 2017, seven Indian civilian prisoners were released by Pakistan while 60 Pakistani civilian prisoners were released by India, she said.

A total of 410 Indian fishermen were released from Pakistan while 9 Pakistani fishermen were released in India in the same year, Swaraj said.

In 2016, two Indian civilian prisoners were released by Pakistan while 10 such Pakistani prisoners were released by India, she said.

A total of 410 Indian fishermen were released from Pakistan in 2016 while 9 Pakistani fishermen were released in India in the same year, Swaraj said.

In 2015, four Indian civilian prisoners were released by Pakistan while 44 Pakistani civilian prisoners were released by India, she said.

A total of 448 Indian fishermen were released from Pakistan in 2015 while 115 Pakistani fishermen were released in India in the same year, Swaraj said in a written reply.

She also said that as per India-Pakistan 'Agreement on Consular Access' signed on May 21, 2008, lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen of each country lodged in the jails of the other are exchanged on January 1 and July 1 of every year.

"According to the lists exchanged on July 1, 2018, there were 108 Pakistan fishermen and 249 Pakistan civilian prisoners in India's custody," she said.

"Pakistan had acknowledged the custody of 418 fishermen and 53 civilian prisoners who are Indians or believed-to-be Indians in their jails. In addition, there is the issue of 83 missing Indian defence personnel, whose custody has not been acknowledged by Pakistan so far," she added.

Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, replying to another question, said a total of 40 Indian nationals died while serving their sentence in jails of 15 foreign countries.

He said 8,445 Indian nationals are in prisons in 68 foreign countries. Among these, the highest number of Indian prisoners are lodged in Saudi Arabia at 2,224, he said.

The second highest number of Indian prisoners among these 68 countries is in the UAE at 1,606 and the third highest in Nepal at 1,065, he said.

In response to another question, Singh said 17 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu along with their three fishing vessels were arrested by Sri Lankan Navy on October 29, off Delft Island for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line and fishing in Sri Lankan territorial waters. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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