Con­sular ac­cess for 102 In­dian pris­on­ers in Pak

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Sid­hant Sibal

New Delhi: Pak­istan is likely to give con­sular ac­cess to 102 In­dian pris­on­ers later this month who are lodged in Karachi and Rawalpindi jails. This means that they will be able to com­mu­ni­cate with In­dian diplo­mats and of­fi­cers.

On Jan­uary 1, In­dia and Pak­istan had shared lists of the pris­on­ers they have in their jails who be­long to the other coun­try. While 249 Pakistani pris­on­ers and 98 fish­er­men are in In­dia’s cus­tody, Pak­istan has 54 In­dian pris­on­ers and 483 fish­er­men.

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs, 396 In­di­ans are lan­guish­ing in Pakistani jails even though they have served their sen­tences. It is not clear if these In­di­ans are getting con­sular ac­cess. Un­der a 2008 agree­ment, the two neigh­bours ex­change pris­on­ers’ lists on Jan­uary 1 and July 1 ev­ery year.

Ear­lier, both sides cleared each other’s pend­ing diplo­matic and of­fi­cial visas. In De­cem­ber, Pak­istan had re­leased In­dian cit­i­zen Hamid An­sari, who was ar­rested by Pak­istan in 2012, af­ter he had gone to Pak­istan on a fake pass­port to meet a girl he had be­friended on Face­book.

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