AMRITSAR – Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a joint body comprising Pakistan-based The Catalyst and the India-based Mission Bharatiyam, has released a list of Pakistani prisoners languishing in Indian jails on public domain, an Indian news service reported on Friday.
The joint body will also release a list of Indian prisoners lodged in Pakistan jails within a month's time. “Till date these lists were only available at government-level and not on public domain,” said Ravi Nitesh, founder of the Mission Bharatiyam. In many cases, relatives of prisoners didn't even know about their whereabouts. He said.
“This is probably the first time that any such detailed list has been made public. We hope to facilitate transparency and sensitize people on both sides about each other’s pain and towards the larger goal of peace and humanity,” Nitesh said. According to the list that is updated till July 2013 and available on the organization’s website, there are 345 Pakistani prisoners including 107 fishermen and 11 women in Indian jails.
While offences of five prisoners have not been registered, 48 have completed their jail sentence but were still behind bars. As many as 27 prisoners were awaiting nationality confirmation from the Pakistan High Commission. While some had completed their sentence in 2007 and 2008, there are others who were awaiting NoC from respective Indian states as well as nationality confirmation from the Pakistan High Commission, Nitesh added.
At least six persons were acquitted but were still languishing in the jails as they were awaiting NoC and nationality confirmation. One Pakistani prisoner is facing death sentence, 139 were under trial and 79 are undergoing sentence. According to Nitesh, no offence was registered against 46 from the 107 fishermen till July 1, 2013. The prisoners in Indian jails expressed anger over inaction by the government in dealing with their matter, saying they have lost hope of returning home.