(Image source from: huffingtonpost.com)
India and Pakistan on Sunday revealed the lists of civilian captives and fishermen in each other's jailhouse, through negotiation channels at the same time at New Delhi and Islamabad.
According to the Ministry of external affairs, Pakistan has shared India a list of 53 civilian prisoners with India and 418 fishermen in its custody, who are or considered to be of Indian origin. They as well confirmed that India had urged Pakistan to hasten the release of nine Indian civilian captives and 229 Indian fishermen who have completed their sentences and whose nationality has been confirmed.
The Ministry of External Affairs as well confirmed conveying to Pakistan the needs for early release and return of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defense personnel and fishermen along with their boats.
The lists were exchanged under the Consular Access Agreement between Pakistan and India signed on May 21, 2008. Both countries, under the agreement twice a year on January 1 and July 1, are needed to exchange lists of their nationals in each other's custody. While Pakistan handed over a list of 471 Indian captives lodged in Pakistani jails, India handed over a list of 357 Pak nationals.
India and Pakistan consider the release of prisoners from either side as a 'goodwill gesture'. But little has been ever spoken about the agony and adversities of these prisoners.
The 86 fishermen, who were released from a Pakistani prison in 2016, had accused the jail authorities of ill-treatment and blamed them for the death of two of their compatriots who were lodged in the same prison.
Swarna Lal, an Indian inmate imprisoned in Kot Lakhpat Jail along with Sarabjit had spoken to a media source in 2013, regarding how Indian prisoners are treated in a very inhuman way in Pakistani jails. He said that the Indians are treated like animals and beaten up brutally. He also recollected how another inmate Chamel Singh who had been killed inside a Pakistani jail.
By Sowmya Sangam