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577 Indian fishermen in Pakistan's custody, Centre tells Lok Sabha

As many as 577 Indian fishermen are in the custody of Pakistan and India has been consistently raising the incidents of their detention, the Lok Sabha was informed

Lok Sabha, parliament

Press Trust of India New Delhi
As many as 577 Indian fishermen are in the custody of Pakistan and India has been consistently raising the incidents of their detention and the capture of fishing boats by the neighbouring country, the Lok Sabha was informed on Friday.
Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said according to the India-Pakistan "Agreement on Consular Access" signed on May 21, 2008, lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen of each country, lodged in the jails of the other, are exchanged on January 1 and July 1 every year.
"According to the lists exchanged on January 1, 2022, Pakistan has acknowledged the custody of 577 fishermen who are Indian or are believed to be Indian," he said during the Question Hour.
Besides, the minister said, according to government records, 1,164 Indian fishing boats are also believed to be in Pakistan's custody. However, the neighbouring country has not acknowledged the custody of the boats.
He said incidents of apprehension of Indian fishermen and their boats by Pakistani authorities are consistently raised with the neighbouring country and it is conveyed that the issue may be considered on purely humanitarian and livelihood grounds.
All possible assistance, including legal help, is extended to the fishermen for their early release and repatriation, along with the release of their boats. As a result of the sustained efforts by the government, 2,140 Indian fishermen and 57 Indian fishing boats have been repatriated from Pakistan since 2014, Muraleedharan said.
He said the government attaches the highest priority to the safety, security and welfare of Indian fishermen.
As soon as cases of apprehension of Indian fishermen and their fishing boats are reported, immediate steps are taken by Indian missions and posts to seek consular access, ensure their welfare and also pursue their early release and repatriation, along with their boats, the minister informed.
Given the humanitarian and livelihood dimensions of the issue, the government has put in place several bilateral mechanisms to ensure cooperation and understanding with the countries concerned to promote the safety and security of Indian fishermen, he said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mar 25 2022 | 2:57 PM IST

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