Pakistan on Sunday released 147 Indian fishermen, held for reportedly trespassing into its territorial waters, from Karachi’s Malir jail, jail administration officials told IPP News.
The process of returning the fishermen who were jailed eight months ago to their country has been initiated, as they are set to travel to Lahore this afternoon on the Allama Iqbal Express from the Karachi Cantonment railway station, officials added. The train will depart at 2pm.
In Lahore, the fishermen will cross the Wagah Border and return home, the officials added.
The travel expenses of the fishermen are being borne by the Edhi Foundation. Some 262 Indian fishermen remain imprisoned at Malir jail still, officials have said.
“The prisoners are kept in good conditions here. Non-Muslims are granted religious freedom, as well,” Superintendent Malir Jail Hassan Sehto told IPP News.
“We want the message that Pakistanis take care of the fishermen to reach India,” he added.
“Never in our history have an Indian prisoner and a Pakistani prisoner fought. In fact, the Pakistani prisoners share with the Indians things that their families bring for them when they visit them in jail.”
The fishermen of India and Pakistan occasionally stray into the other country’s waters during their fishing trips and are caught and put into jails where they remain imprisoned for long periods of time.
Civil society organisations in both the countries have been urging their respective governments to enter into an agreement as prescribed by the international maritime laws so that whenever the fishermen of one country are caught in the other they, after verifying their data, could be released immediately.
But such an arrangement is yet to be reached and the fishermen ─ and their families ─ of both the countries continue to suffer.