India, Pakistan exchange lists of prisoners (Lead, changing dateline)

New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) India and Pakistan on Friday exchanged lists of prisoners, including civil prisoners and fishermen, lodged in jails of either country.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that the lists were handed over simultaneously in New Delhi and Islamabad through diplomatic channels.

While India’s list contained names of 505 prisoners, including 372 civilians and 133 fishermen, Pakistan has 518 names, including 55 civilians and 463 fishermen.

The handing over of the lists is in line with the provisions of the Consular Access Agreement between Pakistan and India signed on May 21, 2008, under which both countries are required to exchange lists of prisoners in each other’s custody twice a year on January 1 and July 1.

“India remains committed to addressing on priority with Pakistan humanitarian matters, including those pertaining to prisoners and fishermen in each other’s country,” Swarup said.

“In this context, we await confirmation of nationality of those from Pakistan who are otherwise eligible for release and repatriation consular access to those Indian nationals in Pakistan’s custody for whom it has so far not been provided,” he added.

Both Indian and Pakistani fishermen are often arrested for transgressing into each other’s maritime areas since the Arabian Sea border is not clearly defined and many boats lack the technology to fix their precise location.



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