296 Indians, 249 fishermen among them, in Pakistani jails Adviser to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz informed the National Assembly on August 4, 2014, that India had confirmed presence of 380 Pakistanis in its prisons as compared to Islamabad’s claim of 486. “As per the lists of prisoners exchanged on July 1, 2014, India has confirmed presence of 380 Pakistani prisoners — 264 civilians and 116 fishermen — in Indian jails,” Mr Aziz said in a written reply to a question. “However, according to our claim, there are 486 Pakistani prisoners — 350 civilians and 136 fishermen — detained in Indian jails,” he added. The adviser informed the house that there were a total of 296 Indians, 249 fishermen among them, detained in Pakistani jails.

Sartaj Aziz said that over the past five years Pakistan had released 1,952 Indian prisoners which included 75 civilians and 1,877 fishermen.

Interestingly, while responding to another question, the adviser said that at present 168 Pakistani fishermen were detained in Indian jails. He said the government had been consistently discussing with the Indian authorities the repatriation of Pakistani prisoners on humanitarian grounds. The Pakistan’s high commission in New Delhi provides legal assistance to these prisoners. In reply to a question, the adviser said that a total of 374 violations of ceasefire by Indian forces on the Line of Control had been reported since July 2013. These incidents resulted in the killing of five military men and five civilians and injuries to another 75 people, including 57 civilians. 2010 Foreign Secretary & Interior Minister Talks The foreign secretaries and the Interior Ministers of India and Pakistan ended their so-called peace talks in the comfortable environment of Serena Hotel in Islamabad in June 2010. But hundreds But 125 Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails and 580 Indian fishermen in Pakistani jails continue to remain in prison in this unbearable heat for no serious crime committed by them. They are poor and nobody on either side of the border appears to be interested in their plight. Some Pakistani fishermen had been in Indian jails for the past 15 years. Fishermen from both countries go for fishing but get caught by the marine security agencies since the international border in the disputed Sir Creek between the two countries has not been clearly defined. It is for this reason that most fishermen do not know if they are fishing in their own territorial waters or have strayed into the other’s jurisdiction. Till the time the territorial dispute is resolved, the two countries should declare 100 nautical miles as a buffer zone and issue permits to fishermen after proper verification. There are 125 Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails and about 17 of them have completed their sentences but still not being released. Similarly, there are over 580 Indian fishermen in Pakistani jails and around 450 of them have already completed their sentences but not being released. Some time back a pundit from Indian-occupied Kashmir filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India for the release of 17 Pakistani fishermen who had completed their sentences. While the court ordered in his favour, the Indian government has not sent back the Pakistani fishermen. Prisoners could be detained for three more months under the Pakistani law after they have completed the sentence. However, after the three months, either the prisoners should be freed or the government has to seek permission from the Supreme Court review board for further detention. In this case, the government sought permission from the review board, which allowed that these fishermen be kept in jails. God knows why the review board was allowing the government to keep these fishermen in Pakistani jails.