Pakistan, India exchange lists of nuclear facilities and prisoners as part of new year tradition
Pakistan and India on Sunday exchanged the lists of nuclear sites and prisoners in each other’s custody as part of various agreements in place between the two countries, the Foreign Office (FO) said.
According to the FO, the tradition of exchanging the nuclear installations and facilities list has existed since January 1992, whereas the first exchange of the prisoners’ list took place in 2008.
“The Government of Pakistan shared with the Indian High Commission in Islamabad a list of 705 Indian prisoners detained in Pakistan, including 51 civilian prisoners and 654 fishermen,” reads a press release from the FO.
It confirmed that the Indian government also shared with the High Commission for Pakistan in New Delhi a list of 434 Pakistani prisoners in India, including 339 civilian prisoners and 95 fishermen.
The FO said that Pakistan requested for early release and repatriation of its 51 civilian prisoners and 94 fishermen, “who have completed their respective sentences and their national status stands confirmed”.
“Furthermore, a request for grant of consular access to missing defence personnel of 1965 and 1971 wars and special consular access to 56 civil prisoners have also been made,” the press release added.
The FO said the simultaneous exchange of lists took place in pursuance of the Consular Access Agreement of 2008, adding that both countries are required to exchange the lists of prisoners in each other’s custody on Jan 1 and July 1, every year.
Maritime trespassing is common in India and Pakistan because of disputed maritime boundaries and small fishermen lacking good navigational tools.
Therefore, the arrest of fishermen found violating the maritime boundary is common, but their release is a complicated process due to hostile relations between the two countries.
It may take a year or more for arrested fishermen to be released, but in most cases, they lose their fishing boats, which are usually kept by the authorities that arrest them.
List of nuclear sites
Another press release said the list of nuclear installations and facilities in Pakistan was officially handed over to a representative of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today.
“Simultaneously, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs also handed over the list of India’s nuclear installations and facilities to a representative of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi,” the press release added.
The FO said the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between Pakistan and India was signed on December 31, 1988, and ratified on January 27, 1991.
The press release added that under the agreement, both countries have to inform each other of their nuclear installations and facilities on Jan 1 of each calendar year.