India urges Pakistan to free its fishermen

August 3rd, 2011 - 8:08 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) With more than 250 Indian fishermen languishing in the jails of Pakistan, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna raised the issue of their release with visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar here last week.

Pakistan arrested 156 Indian fishermen in the last seven months of 2011 and 100 in 2010, Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha. She said 454 Indian fishermen were released by Pakistan in 2010 and 103 this year.

At present, there are 252 Indian fishermen in Pakistani jails, Kaur told parliament.

India has repeatedly raised the issue of the fishermen’s release, including at the July 27 talks between the foreign ministers of the two countries, Kaur informed the Lok Sabha.

Kaur added that the Indian High Commission monitors the status of Indian fishermen in Pakistani jails and requests for consular access for these fishermen.

At the July 27 talks, India and Pakistan backed the recommendations of the Judicial Committee on Prisoners regarding early repatriation of the prisoners who have completed their sentences and whose travel documents are available.

The two sides also agreed to adopt a humane approach in dealing with cases of fishermen, women, elderly, juvenile prisoners, prisoners terminally ill or suffering from serious illness or physical/ mental disability, and to monitor the welfare of prisoners in order to ensure their humane treatment.

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