“India remains committed to addressing, on priority with Pakistan, humanitarian matters, including those pertaining to prisoners and fishermen in each other’s country,” said the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in a statement issued on the bi-annual exchange of list of prisoners.
The statement continued to state, “In this context, we await confirmation of nationality of those from Pakistan who are otherwise eligible for release and repatriation and consular access to those Indian nationals in Pakistan’s custody for whom it has so far not been provided.”
Pakistan has provided on Friday a list of 518 Pakistani citizens in Indian prisons to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, demanding immediate measures for their release.
Lists of prisoners are exchanged between Pakistan and India twice a year (January 1 and July 1), under a mutual 2008 agreement with the help of which they inform each other about their nationals they are holding in their prisons.
These lists also include fishermen, held by the two countries for unintentional trespassing of the maritime border, and civilians accused of crimes of varying nature.
Islamabad and New Delhi have agreed on several occasions that the held fishermen and prisoners issue is a humanitarian matter that needs to be addressed. However, most of the time, it gets linked to the strains in a troubled relationship.