Pakistan Releases 218 Indian Fishermen As An Expression Of Goodwill

Saicharan Palakurthi

Following the nods of approval from both the country’s governments, 218 Indian prisoners were freed from Karachi jail. This is considered as the second batch of Indians according to Pakistan’s statement on releasing 500 Indians in three batches.

Shunail Shah, a Prison official claims that nearly 500 Indian fishermen had been imprisoned over the past year for fishing illegally in Pakistani territorial waters. Shah earlier said that the first batch of fishermen left Karachi Central Jail Sunday and another 219 will be released next week.

These incidents of frequent arrests always happen in the maritime agencies of both countries on illegal fishing charges.

A BSF spokesman said: “All the prisoners crossed over to India around 1.00 AM through the land transit route of Attari (Indian side) – Wagah (Pakistan side) border on the basis of Emergency Travel Certificates issued by the Indian High Commission at Islamabad.”

Pakistan announced to release the arrested Indians in two batches, the toll reached to 439 in 12 days after Pakistan released the second batch as “goodwill gesture”, despite the chill in bilateral ties.

According to the sources, the fishermen were arrested last year when their boasts slipped into Pakistan through territorial waters in the Arabian Sea. They were caught by the Pakistani coast guards on the charge of illegal fishing, the medical examination of all the prisoners was conducted by a team of doctors, right after the release.

Many fishermen were seen with moist eyes at the moment they reached India, they humbly bowed down their forehead and kissed the motherland with passion.

Though they were released, their boats were seized by the Pakistani coast guards.

This is the second batch of Indian fishermen released from Pakistan jails since relations between the two countries became tense after the terror attack on an Indian army base in Uri in September last for which India has blamed Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror outfit.

It is believed that the Pakistan government had freed 220 Indian fishermen who were in jail for more than a year as a goodwill gesture after Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday.


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