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537 Indian prisoners lodged in Pakistani jails

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Pakistan Tuesday shared with India a list of 537 Indian prisoners lodged in Pakistani jails as per the provisions of a bilateral agreement.

They include 54 civilians and 483 fishermen, the Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement here.

“The Government of Pakistan today (Tuesday) handed over a list of 537 Indian prisoners (54 civilians and 483 fishermen) in Pakistan to the High Commission of India in Islamabad,” it said.

The step was taken under the Consular Access Agreement of May 21, 2008 between Pakistan and India, the FO said.

According to the agreement, both countries are required to exchange lists of prisoners in each other’s custody twice a year, on January 1 and and July 1.

India will also share the list of Pakistani prisoners lodged in Indian jails with the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi, the FO said.

The two countries have adhered to the practice of exchanging the list of prisoners despite recurring tensions.

It is one of the enduring Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) agreed upon when the two sides were trying to disentangle the complex relationship with the help of the composite dialogue process.

Fishermen from Pakistan and India are frequently detained for illegally fishing in each other’s territorial waters since the Arabian Sea does not have a clearly defined marine border and the wooden boats lack the technology to avoid being drifting away.

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