ENSURE RELEASE OF INDIAN PRISONERS

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It is anybody’s guess that hundreds of Indian prisoners are languishing in Pakistani jails with many having completed the period of their sentences. There is dire need that the Indian government should take necessary action in the matter and provide justice to those who have been held without any valid reason by the Pakistan government. Reportedly, Pakistan has released the list of nearly 700 Indian prisoners detained in various jails across its territory. The details have been shared under the 2008 Agreement on Consular Access which has provision to share the aforesaid information twice the year on dates including January 1 and July 1. India has also provided similar information to Pakistan giving details of their civilian prisoners and fishermen in its custody. It is necessary that the precedence should be used for providing justice to the prisoners because merely sharing the information will not serve the purpose as the spirit behind the aforesaid agreement is to ensure release of people who have been caught by the neighbouring countries as they crossed over to other side in high seas by losing way and those who are languishing in jails after completing their sentences. According to Pakistan, out of 682 Indian prisoners 49 are civilians and 633 fishermen. The issue is of great concern because not even a single prisoner should be kept in jail after completing his or her sentence and those who have been caught in sea are usually the innocent fishermen and need a sympathetic treatment from both the countries. The government of India should take necessary steps to ensure release of innocent people living a horrific life in the Pakistani jails and also consider the cases of similar prisoners lodged in Indian jails. It is good that India has asked Pakistan to release and repatriate 536 Indian fishermen and three civilian prisoners who have completed their jail terms and whose nationality has been confirmed. The country should mount pressure on Pakistan to ensure early release of such prisoners as this is a humanitarian cause and therefore should be accomplished on priority. It is known to the entire world that India remains committed to addressing humanitarian matters on priority therefore it is Pakistan’s prerogative to take a call on the issue and take the decision as soon as possible.