Only 69 Indians jailed in Pak? Delhi feels it’s 250

A day after Pakistan demanded an apology from India on alleged Indian spy Surjeet Singh, India on Monday gave Pakistan a fresh list of 269 Pakistani prisoners, including 26/11 accused Ajmal Kasab, held in various Indian jails.

There are also 85 Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails. A similar Pakistani list has Sarabjit Singh among 70-odd Indian prisoners. There are also 544 Indian fishermen in Pakistani jails.

While Pakistan’s list has 69 Indians in custody as on January 1, this is contested by Indian officials who believe the actual figure is over three times more. “We believe at least 250 Indians are in Pakistani custody —maybe held by the Army or ISI, and the interior ministry may have no knowledge,” a top security official said.

A top security official on Monday said that "we believe at least 250 Indians are in Pakistani custody, many of whom may be held by the Pakistani Army or even ISI of which the Pakistani interior ministry may have no knowledge."

"In fact, the Pakistan interior ministry has confessed that the numbers they share with us is based on their assessment alone since other agencies like the Pakistan Army do not report to them," the official said.

The MHA has asked Pakistan's interior ministry to review its list by collating details from its agencies. India and Pakistan on Monday exchanged the fresh prisoners list under the Agreement on Consular Access signed between the countries in May, 2008.

The Agreement on Consular Access makes a provision that immediate notification of any arrest and detention or imprisonment of any person of the other country shall be provided to the respective high commission.

"Our list of Pakistani prisoners consists of those who have been convicted for various crimes, including terrorist acts. Some have been chargesheeted and some are even undertrials whom we believe are Pakistanis," a top government official said.

On July 1, 2011, India had given a list to Pakistan saying 365 Pakistani prisoners and 105 fishermen are in Indian custody. This list was updated to 286 Pakistani prisoners and 29 fishermen in Indian jails as on January 1 this year. It has now been revised to 269 Pakistani prisoners and 85 Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails as on July 1, 2012.

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