KARACHI: Pakistan on Sunday released 68 Indian fishermen held for allegedly violating its territorial waters from Karachi’s Landhi jail as a goodwill gesture.
The fishermen boarded a train to Lahore from where they would be taken to the Wagah border and handed over to Indian authorities.
“We got orders from the interior ministry on Saturday (yesterday) to release the Indian fishermen,” Sindh province’s home department official Naseem Siddiqui said.
The fishermen were taken in covered police vans in full security to the railway station where volunteers of the Edhi Foundation distributed cash and gifts among the fishermen who were overjoyed to be returning home.
In July, 78 Indian fishermen were released from the Landhi jail.
Around 200 Indian fishermen are still languishing in the Landhi jail here, Naseem said.
In December last year and January 2017, the Pakistan government had released two batches of Indian fishermen from the Malir and Landhi jails.
A total of 438 Indian fishermen were released in 12 days time in December-January.
Fishermen from Pakistan and India are frequently detained for illegally fishing in each other’s territorial waters since the Arabian Sea does not have a clearly defined marine border and the wooden boats lack the technology to avoid being drifting away.
The Pakistan Maritime Security Force has in recent days made several arrests of Indian fishermen who have been sent into judicial custody.