India, Pakistan exchange list of prisoners, nuclear installations

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaWritten By: Sidhant SibalUpdated: Jan 01, 2019, 02:31 PM IST

File photo of India and Pakistan flags for representation. Photograph:(Zee News Network)

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The list was exchanged through the respective High Commissions located in New Delhi and Islamabad. 

India and Pakistan on Tuesday exchanged lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody as part of the 2008 India Pakistan Consular Access Agreement. Under the agreement, both the countries are required to exchange lists of prisoners in each other's custody twice a year -- on January 1 and on July 1.

India handed over a list of 249 Pakistan civilian prisoners and 98 fishermen in its custody to Pakistan. Pakistan shared a list of 54 civilian prisoners and 483 fishermen in its custody who are Indians or are believed to be Indians.

The list was exchanged through the respective High Commissions located in New Delhi and Islamabad. 

India also called for an early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel and fishermen. Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 17 Indian civilian prisoners and 369 Indian fishermen to India who have been confirmed as Indian nationals. India has also demanded consular access to them.

Remember, just a few weeks ago, the issue of Indian and Pakistani prisoners was highlighted with the release of Indian national Hamid Nihal Ansari by Pakistan. Pakistani nationals Imran Warsi and Abdullah Shah were also released by New Delhi. 

Ansari was jailed in Pakistan for 6 years after he crossed over to Pakistan on a fake passport to meet a girl who he fell in love on social media. Imran Warsi, who came to India in 2004 on a valid visa, overstayed after marrying an Indian girl. He was caught after trying to make a fake passport in Bhopal and was recently released after 10 years in jail. Shah, an autistic from Pakistan, crossed over to India to meet Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan in 2017. 

India has also asked Pakistan to expedite response in the case of 80 Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentences and await repatriation for want of nationality confirmation.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, in October 2017, suggested to the High Commissioner of Pakistan that the two sides could work together to resolve humanitarian issues related to elderly, women and mentally unsound prisoners in each other’s custody and consider their early release and repatriation. 

New Delhi had then proposed to revive the Joint Judicial Committee and Pakistan responded positively on March 7 2018. 

Every year on January 1, India and Pakistan also exchange a list of nuclear installations and facilities under Article-II of the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities which was signed on December 31, 1988.