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India asks Pak to release 633 prisoners in its custody; 2 countries exchange list of nuclear installations

NEW DELHI: India on Sunday called on Pakistan to release and repatriate 631 Indian fishermen and two civilian prisoners who have completed their jail-term and whose nationality has been confirmed.

In addition, Islamabad has also been urged to provide immediate consular access to the remaining 30 fishermen and 22 civilian prisoners who have been in Pakistan’s custody and are believed to be Indian, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

India made the request in the context of the exchange of the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen by both the countries as part of a practice to do so on January 1 and July 1 of every calendar year under the framework of a 2008 pact.

The MEA said Pakistan has been requested to ensure the “safety, security and welfare of all Indian and believed-to-be Indian civilian prisoners and fishermen, pending their release and repatriation to India”.

The MEA said India shared lists of 339 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 95 Pakistani fishermen currently in Indian custody.

Similarly, Pakistan has shared lists of 51 civilian prisoners and 654 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or are believed to be Indians, it added.

“India and Pakistan today exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody,” the MEA said in a statement.

It said 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.

“In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 631 Indian fishermen and two Indian civilian prisoners, who have completed their sentence and whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistan,” the MEA said.

It said India remains committed to addressing, on priority, all humanitarian matters, including those pertaining to prisoners and fishermen in each other’s country.

“In this context, India has also urged Pakistan to expedite necessary action at its end to confirm the nationality status of 71 Pakistani prisoners, including fishermen, whose repatriation is pending for want of nationality confirmation from Pakistan,” the MEA said.
Meanwhile, in continuing a 32-year practice, India and Pakistan on Sunday exchanged a list of their nuclear installations under a bilateral pact which prohibits the two sides from attacking each other’s atomic facilities.

The exchange of the list took place under the provisions of the agreement on the prohibition of attack against nuclear installations and facilities, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

It was done simultaneously through diplomatic channels in New Delhi and Islamabad.

“India and Pakistan today exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the list of nuclear installations and facilities, covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between India and Pakistan,” the MEA said in a statement.

The agreement was signed on December 31, 1988 and came into force on January 27, 1991.

The pact mandates India and Pakistan to inform each other of the nuclear installations and facilities covered under the agreement on the first of January of every calendar year. “This is the 32nd consecutive exchange of such lists between the two countries, the first one having taken place on January 1, 1992,” the MEA said.

The exchange of the list came amid continuing strain in ties between the two countries over the Kashmir issue as well as cross-border terrorism.


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