18:46 GMT16 January 2021
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    India has conveyed its deep concern to the Pakistan government over the issue of the release and repatriation of Indian civilians and fishermen held in Pakistani prisons despite completion of their sentences and confirmation of their nationality.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): A source in India's Ministry of External Affairs told Sputnik that New Delhi has sent a note verbale to Islamabad regarding its long-pending request for the release of civilian prisoners in Pakistan jails.

    "The esteemed High Commission is requested to make immediate necessary arrangements for the immediate release and repatriation of 10 Indian civilian prisoners lodged in Pakistan jails who have already completed their sentence and whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to the Government of Pakistan," the source added.

    READ MORE: Pakistani Forces Kill Indian Fisherman, India Demands Investigation — Report 

    There are 385 Indian fishermen who have completed their jail terms in Pakistan and their nationality has been confirmed 

    "It is requested that urgent and  concrete steps be taken to repatriate them to India at the earliest, along with their boats," the source stated. 

    India has also shared its serious concerns regarding the delayed information of the death of one Indian fisherman to the Indian embassy in Islamabad. The Indian government urged Pakistan to ensure the safety and well-being of all Indian prisoners.

    The Indian government has also sought consular access to the prisoners stuck in Pakistani jails at the earliest date, including granting visas to medical staff to allow them to assess the mental condition of inmates.

    India and Pakistan shared the latest list of prisoners in each other's custody on 1 January 2019. According to the Consular Access Agreement of 21 May 2008, both India and Pakistan share details of the prisoners lodged in each other's jails twice a year: on 1 January and 1 July.

    READ MORE: Pakistan Provides Consular Access to Indian Citizens in its Jails

    In May 2018, both countries revived a decade-old mechanism of the Joint Judicial Committee that looks into humanitarian issues of fishermen and prisoners in each other's custody. The committee members visit and meet prisoners in each other's jails and propose steps to ensure humane treatment and expedite the release of inmates who have completed their prison terms. The committee met seven times between 2007 and 2013.

    Relations between Islamabad and New Delhi spiralled downwards in mid-February when a Pakistan-based terror group attacked an army convoy and killed at least 40 Indian soldiers in Kashmir's Pulwama district.


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