428 Pak nationals in Indian jails: Govt tells parliament

A total of 428 Pakistani nationals, including 85 fishermen, are currently being held in Indian jails, according to information provided by the government in parliament here on Monday.

The detained Pakistani nationals included 81 prisoners currently detained in jails in Jammu and Kashmir.

Eighteen Pakistani prisoners had completed their sentences, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Malik Amad Khan said during question hour in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament.

The Foreign Ministry has taken steps for securing the early release of Pakistani prisoners from Indian jails, he said.

The Foreign Ministry, through the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi, has requested India's External Affairs Ministry to arrange the repatriation of prisoners who had completed their sentence at the earliest, he said.

Whenever the Foreign Ministry receives information regarding the arrest of Pakistani nationals, it immediately takes up the case with Indian authorities and requests immediate consular access. All cases are 'vigorously followed up and raised with the Indian side at all levels', Khan said.

The two countries exchange lists of prisoners twice a year in January and July. Officials of the Pakistani High Commission have visited Indian prisons to seek consular access and to alleviate sufferings of Pakistani prisoners.

Liaison is being maintained with rights activists and lawyers to facilitate the release of prisoners, Khan said.

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