India on Tuesday called on Pakistan to release and repatriate 400 Indian prisoners, including some who were still in jail despite having completed their sentences nearly four to five years ago, people familiar with developments said.
New Delhi also sought consular access to five civilian prisoners, including former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, whom its officials have been unable to meet despite repeated requests, the people said. Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court after being arrested on charges of spying and subversive activities in 2016.
The demand for the release of 385 fishermen and 15 other prisoners and consular access to five prisoners was made through a note verbale – an unsigned diplomatic correspondence – sent to the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi, the people said.
They added India had expressed “deep concern” over its long-pending request for the release and repatriation of prisoners and fishermen with their boats, especially those who had completed their sentences and whose nationality had been confirmed.
India sought the “immediate release” of 10 civilian prisoners who had completed their sentences, including two who had served their terms by 2014 and 2015. It also called for urgent steps to repatriate 385 fishermen whose nationality had been confirmed and who were still in jail despite serving their sentences.
Another five prisoners had been confirmed as Indian nationals and India sought their “early release and repatriation”.
Noting that India has been providing timely consular access to Pakistani prisoners, the note verbale said access to Indian fishermen and prisoners was “inordinately delayed”. It again sought consular access to five civilian prisoners, including Jadhav, whose cases were pending with Pakistan.