400 Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails: MEA

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400 Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails
New Delhi, Nov 1: Ministry of External Affairs confirmed on Thursday that there are around 400 Indians in Pakistani prisons, of whom 90 have completed their sentences and are entitled to be released and sent home.

According to MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, of the 400 Indians, 214 are civilian prisoners while 186 are fishermen. He said the 90 who have completed their terms "should be released because according to the India-Pakistan bilateral agreement all prisoners who have completed their sentence should be released within one month".

"And we look forward to Pakistan releasing them, and welcoming them back home." A Pakistani judicial commission is in India on a reciprocal visit.

The spokesperson said the Pakistani panel would be submitting a report. "And this report will feature issues relating to Pakistani prisoners in Indian prisons. Also, my understanding is that as a follow-up to this there would be another visit later on, early in the first half of next year, of Indian members to Pakistan to follow up on the situation of Indian prisoners in Pakistan," he said.

He described the visits by the judicial panels to the other country as a "normal feature between India and Pakistan. Despite the difficulties and differences that we have had, we view issues relating to prisoners as humanitarian issues."

The Pakistan judicial panel has visited three jails in India - in Amritsar, Jaipur and Delhi's Tihar jail, to interact with Pakistani prisoners.

In August this year, in a letter written to indian and Pakistan governments, 11 Indian prisoners in Pakistan jails had sought death sentence to 'get rid of their sorrowful lives'. They had also mentioned that around 21 other Indian prisoners, including four women, have become mentally unstable due to "excessive torture" in Kot Lakhpat prison and do not know their names.

According to a statement given by a top aid of Nawaz Sharif early this year, the number of Indians in Pak jails is 500.


(with agency inputs)

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