ISLAMABAD, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 29th july, 2016) : Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said Friday 450 Pakistani fishermen were arrested by Indian authorities during the last five years. Speaking in the Senate during question hour,the advisor said out of total 450 Pakistani fishermen arrested, 395 fishermen had been released by the Indian authorities. Allegedly, he said they were arrested for their unauthorized presence in Indian waters, adding whenever, an arrest was brought to our notice, Pakistan requested the Indian authorities for consular access, so as to collect information on the detainee and establish his or her Pakistani citizenship.
He said the antecedents, so collected, were examined by the Ministry of Interior for confirmation of national status, adding once the national status of a prisoner was confirmed, and formal request was made to the Indian side for early repatriation of the concerned detainee. He added such a request in some cases was not entertained, as the Indian authorities initiate legal proceedings against the detainee. He said the High Commission for Pakistan, New Delhi arranges legal assistance to under trial detainees and in this regard, a law firm had been hired by the High Commission.
The advisor said financial assistance was also provided, wherever required and Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi coordinates with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs for expeditious repatriation of prisoners, who have either been acquitted or have completed their respective sentence. The Adviser said that it was decided in the Ufa meeting between the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India to evolve a mechanism for the early release of fishermen.
He said though the mechanism has yet not been finalized but the process has been expedited to ensure the early release of fishermen. Replying to another question, he said that Pakistan and Indonesia enjoyed excellent relations in different fields including defence and culture. He said that Pakistan's bilateral trade with Indonesia has increased to 2.2 billion Dollars since the signing of Preferential Trade Agreement between the two countries