Indian civilian prisoner dies in Pakistan before repatriation

Still, 199 fishermen and one civilian shall be released on May 11 and will enter India on 12th, said PIPFPD official

May 07, 2023 09:43 pm | Updated 09:58 pm IST - NEW DELHI

An Indian prisoner, who was to be repatriated next week, has died in a hospital in Karachi, civil society activists informed on May 7.

The deceased named Zulfiqar, was expected to enter India along with 199 fishermen who are to be released by Pakistan. India has been urging Pakistan to release the 631 fishermen and two civilian prisoners languishing in Pakistani jails despite completing their prison terms.

A representative of Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) said that Zulfiqar, one of the two civilian prisoners on the list, was admitted to a hospital in Karachi where he passed away on Saturday.

According to PIPFPD, at least 654 Indian fishermen are in Pakistan’s jail and out of that, 631 have completed their sentences. In comparison, 83 Pakistani fishermen are in Indian jails.

Despite the tragedy, the repatriation of the 199 fishermen and one civilian is expected to go ahead without difficulty next week. “They will be released on 11th and enter India on 12th,” said Jatin Desai of PIPFPD.

The fishermen and civilian prisoners have been part of India-Pakistan diplomacy for decades as straying fishermen are often arrested by the authorities on both sides due to a lack of understanding about maritime boundary.

Apart from the fishermen, India has been urging Pakistan to provide consular access and release 22 civilian prisoners who have completed sentences but continue to remain in jail.

India had reiterated this point on January 1 while exchanging the list of civilian prisoners and fishermen last January 1. Every year, both sides exchange the list of such prisoners on January 1 and July 1, according to a 2008 agreement.

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