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Pakistani Authorities Release 200 Indian Fishermen

In the previous month, the Pakistani authorities took a significant step by releasing a group of 198 Indian fishermen who had been held in captivity in Karachi. These individuals had been arrested on charges of engaging in illegal fishing activities within Pakistani waters. However, demonstrating a gesture of goodwill, the Pakistani authorities handed them over to India at the Wagah border.

Yash Saxena
Representative image.
Representative image.

On Friday, Pakistan took the step of releasing 200 Indian fishermen from confinement in Karachi. Pakistani officials stated that these individuals would undergo proper procedures and subsequently be handed over to Indian authorities at the Wagah border. The release of these fishermen from Malir Prison in Karachi is in line with the Pakistani government's initiative to transfer a total of 500 incarcerated fishermen back to Indian custody.

In the previous month, authorities in Pakistan released a group of 198 Indian fishermen who had been detained in Karachi on allegations of engaging in unauthorized fishing within Pakistani waters. These individuals were subsequently handed over to Indian officials at the Wagah border.

According to Pakistan officials, the second batch of 200 Indian fishermen was released, and an additional 100 are scheduled for release in July. The Edhi humanitarian foundation facilitated the transportation of these fishermen, including ten Muslims, via train to Lahore.

They further mentioned that upon their arrival in Lahore, the fishermen are set to undergo the necessary legal procedures before being transferred to Indian authorities at the Wagah border in accordance with established protocols. They also reported that the majority of individuals released in the second batch had completed their prison terms, ranging from 5 to 8 years, following their arrest and subsequent trial in court.

The Pakistani authorities expressed their relief following the release of the second group of Indian fishermen. They emphasized that these individuals were impoverished fishermen who ventured into Pakistani territorial waters in search of a livelihood. They highlighted the lack of a clear demarcation line in the Arabian Sea between the two countries and the absence of advanced technology on their boats, which contributed to their unintentional entry into Pakistani waters.

Furthermore, they stated that on July 3, a third group comprising 100 Indian fishermen would be released. This announcement follows the return of 198 Indian fishermen on May 12, 2023.

The release of the Indian fishermen aligns with Pakistan's commitment to avoiding the politicization of humanitarian matters. "Putting compassion ahead of politics is our guiding principle," he further emphasized.

It is a common occurrence for Pakistan and India to apprehend fishermen from the opposing side for inadvertently crossing the maritime boundary, which is often ill-defined.

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