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.
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.
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.
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.