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489 Indians languishing in Pak jails
April 01, 2008 18:24 IST
There are at least 489 Indians, a majority of them fishermen, languishing in Pakistani jails.
According to lists exchanged by the two countries as part of the process for the expeditious release of prisoners, a total of 489 Indian nationals are at present lodged in Pakistani jails.
The lists of prisoners were exchanged through the high commissions of the two countries in New Delhi and Islamabad.
The Pakistan authorities said they had traced 53 Indian civilians and 436 fishermen in their jails. Indian authorities said they had traced 210 Pakistani prisoners in the country's jails.
The details of 145 Pakistani civilians and 14 fishermen in Indian jails were provided to the Pakistan High Commission, sources said adding, the required information about the remaining 65 inmates is being verified and would be provided soon.
The lists were exchanged in keeping with the recommendations of the Pakistan-India Joint Judicial Committee on Prisoners, which had held its first meeting in New Delhi on February 26 this year.
The committee had outlined several steps for the humane treatment and expeditious release of prisoners being held in jails in both countries.
The panel, comprising eight retired judges from the two countries, was set up in 2007. It had recommended that prisoners who had completed their sentences and whose nationality had been verified should be immediately released.
Special consideration should be accorded on humanitarian grounds to women, juveniles and disabled prisoners so that they could be repatriated, the panel recommended.
It also said that consular access should be given to all prisoners, including fishermen and those accused or convicted for minor offences, so that their nationality could be confirmed.
The Indian chapter of the judicial committee will visit Pakistani jails this month. This will be followed by a return visit to Indian jails by the Pakistani chapter.