Freed fishermen handed over to Indian authorities

09:56, December 27, 2009      

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Pakistan Saturday handed 100 freed Indian fishermen over to the Indian authorities, officials said.

The fishermen were brought in two buses from the southern Pakistani city of Karachi and handed over to the Indian officials on the Wagha border in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore.

The fishermen were freed as a humanitarian gesture from a prison in Karachi on the instruction of Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani.

The fishermen were earlier scheduled to be released on Dec. 24 but delayed due to some technical problems.

There is no clear demarcation in the Arabian sea, separating the Indian and Pakistani territorial water borders, and this leads to poor fishermen from both countries being frequently arrested and lodged into jails.

On Dec. 14, Pakistan arrested 16 Indian fishermen and seized four boats in case of alleged territorial water violation by them, the third such incident in last two months.

Officials said that some 600 Indian fishermen are still in Pakistani jails. Similarly hundreds of Pakistani fishermen are also languishing in Indian prisons.

Last year's attacks in Mumbai have affected the release process of the fishermen and other civilian prisoners.

To resolve the issue of prisoners and fishermen in each other's custody, Pakistan has also proposed to India the revival of the Judicial Committee on Prisoners between the two countries, according to Pakistan's foreign ministry.

Source: Xinhua
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