- Aaghaz-e-Dosti urges Islamabad, Delhi to address issues of prisoners
LAHORE: A detailed list of Pakistani and Indian prisoners and fishermen who are lodged in jails of Pakistan and India has been released by the Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a cross-border friendship initiative, according to a statement issued here on Wednesday.
The list was made available in public portal and comprises of names, FIR details and status of the prisoners as on July 1, 2017. The details are based on the list exchanged between the two countries regularly under a bilateral agreement, signed in 2008.
The recent list was exchanged on July 1, 2017. The Aaghaz-e-Dosti is releasing these lists since 2014 in an effort to sensitise people towards the importance of peacebuilding, and to make the information public as family members, human rights activists and advocates on both sides can get benefit from the list.
The first-ever effort was made in the 2014 and since then, the initiative makes efforts to release this list. With the list available on its blog, a brief analysis has also been shared. As on July 1, 2017, there are a total of 52 prisoners (civil) and 494 fishermen who are believed to be Indians and are lodged in various jails of Pakistan.
As many as 263 prisoners (civil) and 78 fishermen who are believed to be Pakistanis are lodged in various jails in India. The total of 494 Indian fishermen, who are lodged in Pakistani jails, have completed their sentence while still in jail. Among them, the nationality status is not confirmed for 417 (approximately 85 per cent) fishermen.
Among the total 52 (civil) prisoners, 39 persons (75 per cent) have completed their sentence but could not be released. Among these 39 who have completed their sentence, the nationality is not confirmed for 37 persons. In addition, there are three persons who are under trial and their nationality status is not confirmed.
Five women and two persons who are deaf and dumb were also included in the list. At least 10 persons, who completed their sentence even before 2010, could not be released yet due to ‘unidentified’ nationality.
On the Indian side, from the list of total 78 Pakistani fishermen, 61 are still under trials whereas 17 have completed their sentence. Except for four persons whose repatriation was shown as ‘in progress’, nationality confirmation is shown awaited for 74 persons.
There are a total of 263 prisoners (civil) in Indian jails who are believed to be Pakistanis. Among these, 60 have completed their sentence, 115 are under trials and 67 are undergoing sentence, no offence registered and nationality not confirmed are on 15, three persons acquitted and three are on a death sentence.
Those who are undergoing sentence include 23 persons who are awarded a life sentence. Those who have completed sentence include 12 for whom repatriation was in progress, while for 43 nationalities confirmation was awaited, and for five NOC was not available from the respective state government.
In the total list, four women and two deaf and dumb persons are also included. At least seven persons are those who have completed their sentence before 2010 but could not be released due to nationality not confirmed. At least 22 persons are under trials since the year 2008. The Aaghaz-e-Dosti urged Pakistan and India to address the issues of prisoners and fishermen who could not be released due to nationality issue.
“In both the countries, issues of prisoners and fishermen must be dealt on humanitarian grounds in cases where relief can be provided by respective governments. It is also appalling that Hamid Nehal Ansari, who is an Indian citizen lodged in jail in Pakistan for whom the government of India officially talked with Pakistan after much campaigning by his parents, has been shown as nationality not confirmed,” the organisation said.