India making efforts for release of fishermen from Pak custody : Krishna

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New Delhi, Dec 16 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said here on Wednesday that Government of India has been making persistent efforts for the release of Indian fishermen and their boats from Pakistan."

Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, Krishna said: "An India-Pakistan Judicial Committee on Prisoners was formed on 26 February 2008. The Committee made recommendations to the two Governments, which inter alia, included immediate release of and consular access to fishermen, and exchange of a consolidated list of nationals in each other's jails."

The Committee visited jails in Pakistan in June 2008 and jails in India in August 2008. The Committee again recommended, inter alia, immediate release and repatriation of all prisoners to their respective countries who had completed their sentences and whose nationality had been confirmed.

"Pakistan released 34 Indian fishermen in August 2008, and another 99 fishermen in November 2008. India had released 14 Pakistani fishermen in its jails in May 2008 in pursuance of the committee's recommendations," Krishna informed.

He said the Gujarat Government made requests to expedite the release of Indian fishermen and their boats from Pakistani custody.

In addition, a number of Members of Parliament from Gujarat, and Members of Legislative Assembly of Gujarat have also written to the Ministry in this regard in the last three years, he said.

In last three years Gujarat Government has informed the Ministry on several occasions of the capture of Indian fishermen and their fishing boats by Pakistani authorities.

Krishna also informed the House that the issue of release of remaining Indian fishermen and their boats from Pakistan's custody is regularly taken up by the Government with the Government of Pakistan. (ANI)

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