Aaghaz-e-Dosti Releases List of Indo-Pak Prisoners; Urges India, Pakistan to Revive Consular Access

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The civil group, Aaghaz-e-Dosti, urged both the governments that they must depute special teams at least for bringing all fishermen and civilian prisoners under confirmation for nationality that is causing undue delay in their release.

Special Correspondent | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — Releasing a detailed list of Indian and Pakistani prisoners and fishermen, Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a cross border Indo-Pak friendship initiative, on Wednesday said there were a total 52 prisoners (civil) and 494 fishermen, who are believed to be Indians and were lodged in various jails of Pakistan, whereas 263 prisoners (civil) and 78 fishermen who are believed to be Pakistanis were lodged in various jails in India.

The civil group urged both governments to address the issue of prisoners and fishermen who could not be released only due to nationality confirmation and send special teams for this purpose.

It is a first ever list made available in public and comprises names, FIR details and status of prisoners as on July 1, 2017. Details are based upon the list exchanged between the two countries regularly under the provisions of ‘Agreement on consular access between India and Pakistan’ that was signed in 2008 and the recent list was exchanged on July 1, 2017.

According to the list, as many as 417 of 494 Indian fishermen lodged in Pakistani jails have completed their sentence but are still in jail due to non-confirmation of their nationality status. While of the total 52 prisoners, 39 persons (75%) have completed their sentence but could not be released yet and 37 prisoners’ nationality is yet to be confirmed. There are five women and two persons who are deaf and dumb.

In both countries, issues of prisoners and fishermen must be dealt on the humanitarian ground in cases where relief can be provided by respective governments

On the Indian side, from the list of total 78 Pakistani fishermen, 61 are still under trials whereas 17 have completed their sentence. Except for four persons whose repatriation shows as ‘in progress’, nationality confirmation is shown awaited for 74 persons.

There are 263 prisoners (civil) in Indian jails who are believed to be Pakistanis. Among these, 60 have completed their sentence, 115 are under trials, 67 are undergoing sentence, no offence registered and nationality not confirmed on 15, 3 persons acquitted and 3 on death sentence. Those who are undergoing sentence include 23 persons who are awarded life sentence. Those who have completed sentence include 12 for whom repatriation was in progress, while for 43 nationalities confirmation was awaited and for 5, NOC was not available from respective state government. In the total list, 4 women and 2 deaf and dumb persons are also included. At least 7 persons are those who have completed sentence before 2010 but could not be released due to nationality not being confirmed. At least 22 persons are under trials since 2008.

The group also appealed that the long-pending meetings of Indo-Pak judicial committee should be revived so that the joint team of retired judges may provide necessary suggestions to the respective governments in this regard. In both countries, issues of prisoners and fishermen must be dealt on the humanitarian ground in cases where relief can be provided by respective governments. The organisation also said that Hamid Nehal Ansari, who is an Indian citizen lodged in jail in Pakistan for whom Government of India officially talked with Pakistan after much campaigning by his parents, has been shown as ‘Nationality not confirmed’. It further urged both the governments that they must depute special teams at least for bringing all fishermen and civilian prisoners under confirmation for nationality that is causing undue delay in their release.

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