As many as 508 Indian prisoners have been repatriated from Pakistan in the last three years between 2020 and 2023, while India has repatriated 143 Pakistani prisoners during the same period.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs, 266 Indian fishermen and 42 civilian prisoners are in Pakistani custody, as per the list of prisoners exchanged between the two countries on July 1. While there are 343 civilians and 74 fishermen from Pakistan in Indian custody.
As per the India-Pakistan ‘Agreement on Consular Access’ signed on May 21, 2008, lists of prisoners of each country, lodged in the jails of the other, are exchanged on January 1 and July 1 of every year.
The government has called for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners and fishermen along with their boats, from Pakistan’s custody, sources informed.
The external affairs ministry sources further informed that it attaches highest priority to the welfare, safety and security of Indian prisoners in Pakistani custody.
As soon as cases of apprehension of Indian nationals by Pakistan are reported, immediate steps are taken by the Indian Mission in Islamabad towards seeking Consular Access from the Pakistan government, they added.
During Consular Access, officials from the Indian high commission visit the Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails to ascertain their well-being and distribute daily-use welfare items. All possible assistance, including legal assistance, is extended to the Indian prisoners for their early release and repatriation, they added further.