ISLAMABAD - Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said yesterday that Pakistan and India had decided in principle to work out a mechanism providing for release of detained fishermen in two week's time.

Replying to a question in the Senate, the adviser said follow up work was in progress to give a concrete shape to the decision for releasing fishermen of each other's country within two weeks after verification of their nationalities.

He said at present there were 460 Pakistani detainees in the Indian jails divided into two broad categories of civil prisoners who were 347 and 113 were fishermen.

He said these persons had been arrested on a variety of charges, including alleged illegal entry into India, overstay, drug smuggling, espionage and terrorism.

He said India released 329 Pakistani detainees including 217 fishermen and 112 civilians during the last three years.

He said in 2008, Pakistan and India signed an agreement regarding counsellor access, making it obligatory upon both governments to maintain a comprehensive list of nationals of the other country under its arrest, detention or imprisonment.

As per the agreement, he said the lists of prisoners were exchanged on Jan 1 and July 1 every year.

Replying to another question regarding the names and designation of persons against whom complaints had been received during the present posting in Pakistan Embassy or Mission in Thailand, the adviser in a written reply said no complaint had been received against any officers and staff mentioned.

Similarly, he added none of the officers mentioned had completed their tenure in the mission.


Our Staff Reporter adds: Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria has said that Pakistan believes that release of 86 Indian fishermen on humanitarian gestures would promote better understanding between the two countries.

In a statement, Foreign Office said hopefully the Indian side will also reciprocate in a similar manner.

Pakistan has released 87 Indian prisoners, including 86 fishermen and a civilian via Wagah Border. Currently 460 Pakistanis including 113 fishermen are detained in the Indian jails.