Pakistan releases 45 Indian fishermen as a goodwill gesture #goodnews

Press Trust of India | Posted on May 25, 2013

Islamabad: Pakistan on Saturday released 45 Indian prisoners as a gesture of goodwill though confusion surrounded the move as Indian authorities in Islamabad were not informed about it.

“We have freed 45 Indian prisoners and they will be repatriated via Wagah tomorrow,” Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani told a news briefing at the Foreign Office.

The prisoners, most of them fishermen, were freed from a jail in Karachi and put on a bus to take them to the eastern city of Lahore.

Pakistan releases 45 Indian fishermenThere are currently 482 Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails while 496 Pakistanis are in Indian jails.

However, official sources said Pakistani authorities had not formally informed the Indian High Commission about their release till this afternoon.

The verification of the identity of several of the fishermen had not been completed while others had not completed their jail terms, the sources told PTI. Several formalities have to be completed before the fishermen can be allowed to cross over to India via the Wagah land border crossing tomorrow, the sources said.

Footage on television showed the fishermen coming out of Malir Jail in Karachi and boarding the bus. On May 7, caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso announced that Pakistan would release 51 Indian fishermen who had completed their jail terms.

The figure was subsequently revised to 49 and later, 45 prisoners were freed. India and Pakistan frequently arrest fishermen for illegally crossing the maritime boundary.

There are currently 482 Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails while 496 Pakistanis are in Indian jails. When Khoso announced the release of the Indian fishermen, he expressed the hope that the Indian government would reciprocate by freeing Pakistani prisoners.

The move to release the prisoners came after Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh died in Lahore on May 2 following a brutal assault within Kot Lakhpat Jail.

Following his death, Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay was assaulted in a jail in Jammu and died later in a hospital in Chandigarh.

Pakistan releases 10 indian prisoners inlcuding 7 Fiishermen #goodnews

Yudhvir Rana, TNN
AMRITSAR: Pakistan government has released 10 Indian prisoners including 7 fishermen from Karachi‘s Landhi jail and from other jails of Punjab on Thursday. The released prisoners would reach Wagah(Pakistan) border on Friday from where they will be handed over to Indian authorities, informed Pakistan’s former federal minister for human rights Ansar Burney on Thursday.

Providing details, vice chairman of the Ansar Burney International Trust, Syed Fahad Burney said that they would receive the Indian prisoners from jail and would take them to Wagah(Pakistan) border in the trusts’ vehicles and handover them to Pakistan Rangers.

Indian fishermen who are being released by Pakistan are Mansingh Bhagwan , Khema , Shivdas, Manno, Bharat Dheeru, Govind Bamaniya and Lala Pansa Pansa Bhika Belu. The trust had taken up the cases of these 7 Indian fishermen with Pakistan government . “Still there are around 100 Indian fisherman are lodged in jails and the trust would also take up their case and appeal for their early release on humanitarian grounds” said Burney.

Burney informed that Ansar Burney International Trust had also planned to initiate a movement for the release of Indian condemned prisoners Sarabjit Singh and Kirpal Singh seeking their release on technical and humanitarian grounds.

The Trust would begin a nation wide movement for the release of Indian prisoners on death row Sarabjit Singh and Kirpal Singh. “Both of them have spend more than two decades in jail waiting to be hanged every day even as living a in the death cell is horrible” he said.

“Their release from Pakistan jail will help to ease tension between two nations and bring trust” he said. He said he had convened a meeting of Trust office bearers and other like minded associations to chalk out their future course of action for the release of Sarabjit and KirpalSingh.


#India- #Bhavesh Parmar Techie returns a free man 8 years after drifting into #Pakistan #goodnews

Yudhvir Rana & Bella Jaisinghani, TNN | Oct 26, 2012, 07.34AM IST

MUMBAI: Vile Parle resident Hansaben Parmar’s agonizingly long wait for her son finally ended on Thursday. Eight years after Bhavesh strayed across the border, he was repatriated by Pakistani authorities following his release from a Lahore prison.

A software engineer by education, 32-year-old Bhavesh crossed into India in the afternoon through Wagah border, where Hansaben was waiting for him. “Mamma mil gayee,” he exclaimed on embracing his mother. “I am so happy. I came all the way to Attari almost crying.”

Bhavesh is believed to have wandered into Pakistan in 2004 in a mentally disturbed state. That was the year his father passed away from cancer. His long leave of absence from work cost Bhavesh his job with a leading manufacturer of ATM machines.

On Thursday, Bhavesh, attired in a salwar-kameez and a jacket, said he accidentally boarded Samjhauta Express from Amritsar and fainted before reaching Pakistan. It is unclear how he reached Amritsar or got on the train. According to activists, Bhavesh was arrested in 2007 and in 2009 sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. Bhavesh said he was treated well in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail.

Vile Parle MLA Krishna Hegde, who accompanied Hansaben to Attari, said Bhavesh will be taken to Mumbai on Friday after all formalities are completed.

During the Thursday reunion , Bhavesh’s mother kept breaking down. “These tears are of happiness. I have finally got my son back,” Hansaben said. While she expressed delight at his return , she wished Pakistan had repatriated him immediately after the arrest.

The 57-year-old said Bhavesh’s mental condition worried her and she would get medical exams conducted . “Bhavesh was dedicated to his father’s treatment. But we lost my husband within three months.” Bhavesh disappeared after the death while Hansaben was away at her parents’ place as per local traditions. “I had told my neighbours to take care of Bhavesh. But when I returned I found him missing.” She did not lodge a missing report with the police since she thought he might have gone in search of another job.

Hansaben was clueless about her son’s whereabouts until 2008, when Intelligence Bureau informed her about his presence in Pakistani jail. “We started making efforts to bring him back when we came to know that he was imprisoned in Pakistan,” explained Hansaben. The process was not easy but as time passed immense support poured in for Bhavesh’s release . Britainbased lawye r Ja s Uppal reported the case to the United Nations, Amnesty International , Human Rights Watch and to others. In July 2012, Pakistani lawyer Awais Sheikh filed Bhavesh’s mercy petition before the country’s president Asif Ali Zardari.

Back in Mumbai, friends and neighbours at Kamla Terrace building in Vile Parle who had helped Hansaben through the ordeal awaited Bhavesh’s return. “I was to travel to Wagah but could not make it,” said activist Jatin Desai.


Tragedy at home 

Bhavesh Parmar, a software engineer, lived with his aged parents Hansaben and Kantilal Parmar at Kamla Terrace in Vile Parle He held a mid-level position with one of India’s largest manufacturers of ATMs The young man was left traumatized following the death of his father due to cancer in mid-2004 His prolonged absence from work owing to his father’s illness and then death cost him his job Unable to cope with the double blow, he wandered away from home in a disoriented state

Odyssey & ordeal 

The 24-year-old ended up in Pakistan aboard Samjhauta Express in 2004 He was arrested in 2007 and a case was registered under section 14 of the Foreigners Act In 2009, Bhavesh was given a three-year sentence with a penalty of Rs 5,000 For non-payment of penalty, he was made to undergo further imprisonment of three months His case was placed before Pakistan’s supreme court and Bhavesh was declared an internee on June 2 for three months. The term ended on September 28

Sparks of hope 

Earlier this year, Hansaben received a letter from journalist Neeraj Sharma informing that Bhavesh was in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore Sharma had interviewed a batch of prisoners released at Wagah. One of them, Ram Rajji, passed on a chit of paper on which Bhavesh had scribbled the family’s Mumbai address A friend of Bhavesh telephoned the reporter, who, in turn, put him through to Rajji Hansaben approached local MLA Krishna Hegde in February 2012. The MLA, in turn, sought help from MP Priya Dutt. The chain led to external affairs minister S M Krishna and the Indian High Commission in Pakistan Soon, activists across the UK, Pakistan and India reached out to help In Pakistan, lawyer Awais Sheikh represented Bhavesh to secure his release.


Ailing boy among 7 Indian fishermen released #India #Pakistan #Goodnews

October 25, 2012 by Shazia Hasan, Dawn

KARACHI, Oct 24: “I am not a fisherman. I was never meant to be here,” said 17-year-old Kishan Babu before being released from the Malir district prison here on Wednesday.

The young Indian from Gujarat said that he was only on an outing at sea with his fisherman uncle when they found themselves in Pakistani waters where they were taken into custody and their boat seized.

That was in November 2011. And Kishan’s uncle, Dana Bhai, has also been released in the meantime while Kishan himself was declared unfit for travel by doctors despite his name being in the list of prisoners for release as many as four times.

The boy was being treated for brain abscess at the Civil Hospital Karachi with other Indian fishermen confirming the fact that he had water coming out of his ears while on the boat last year.

Kishan’s name first came up for release on May 17, 2012, but it was only now that he was considered well enough to travel in the coach that would take the seven fishermen to Lahore from where they would be handed over to the Indian authorities at Wagah on Thursday morning.

About his impression of the people of Pakistan and their attitude towards him, Kishan, who still looked frail, said that everyone had been very kind to him. “I wasn’t very clear about my future after passing class 10, but now I want to become a doctor like the doctors and surgeons who took care of me here,” Kishan told Dawn.

The other fishermen have been here for six months. Among them was Krishan Soma Saraniya. “I have a wife and six children back home. They hadn’t a clue as to what had happened to me until I sent them a message through another fisherman who was released from here three months ago.

Now my family writes to me. They call, too, but I prefer letters to phone calls because I can’t handle their crying. They always cry when they call,” he said with eyes brimming with tears.

“Now it’s my turn to cry,” he said looking slightly embarrassed at getting emotional on being released.

“There are nine more fishermen who were arrested around the same time as we, but their names didn’t come up this time,” said 22-year-old Vipul. He said he would still be catching fish after retuning to India, but would be more careful next time.

“I have two younger sisters and two younger brothers back home and with them still in school, and me not there, my poor father is finding it very hard to make both ends meet,” he said. “Fishing is what I know. It is what I do.”

All the other men — Ramesh Sagal Chawda, Amrit Lal Badiya, Harshit and Bhagal Bhagvan — were glad to be leaving, too, finally, their bags neatly packed and lined up by a wall in the prison.

A polythene bag on one of the bags had a few juice boxes and biscuit packets.

“They are for Kishan,” said Amrit Lal Badiya. “He has completed his medicine courses but has been advised to take plenty of juices and biscuits to get his strength back,” he added while lending his recuperating friend a shoulder to lean on.

Meanwhile, a few Indian fishermen inmates also came to say goodbye to the seven who were leaving. They also wanted to see them off outside where the wagon arranged by Legal Aid Office, headed by retired Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, stood waiting for them.

“Where do you think you all are off to? Back to your barracks please now. Don’t think you can fool us into getting out. You are in jail. Not even a fly gets out of here without being noticed,” said a jail staffer wagging a finger at the Indian inmates jokingly as the others were allowed to leave.

Why do India and Pakistan treat their fishermen like fish?

Last updated on: October 01, 2012 ,


*When a security force finds the vessel of another country within its maritime borders — with no “objectionable materials apart from a large cache of fish” — why can’t they simply ask the vessel to return, asks Shivam Vij

The insensitive governments of India and Pakistan are not moved even when one of their citizens dies in the other country, especially if the citizen was a poor fisherman arrested for the crime of inadvertently crossing a maritime boundary.

After 23 days of lying in the morgue of Ahmedabad’s Civil Hospital, the body of 32 year old Nawaz Ali Jat will finally reach Karachi on Monday by a Pakistan International Airlines flight. His family waited 14 years for his return, but they didn’t even get to know when he
died of kidney failure on September 8.

In May 1999, a cyclone hit the Karachi coast, pushing Nawaz’s boat across Indian maritime borders. Along with his relatives, Usman Sachu, Zaman Jat and Usman Jat, Nawaz was arrested. India and Pakistan were fighting a war in the treacherous mountains of Kargil, a war that these fishermen had nothing to do with. But since they were Pakistanis who had committed the crime of being hit by a cyclone, they were charged with more than just trespass. Nawaz was accused and convicted of anti-State activities. Their families thought they had died, until they got a letter from them from inside Sabarmati Jail.

The spying charges meant that even though hundreds of fishermen have been arrested and released by India and Pakistan since then, Nawaz and his relatives were not. When Mumbai-based journalist and peace activist Jatin Desai asked the Indian government about his case in 2007, the government replied that India has no Pakistani fisherman arrested before 2000.

Desai has met Nawaz’s family in Karachi and he says he wouldn’t know how to face them the next time he goes there. Nawaz Ali Jat died after a long illness on September 8. The Gujarat government informed the ministries of home and external affairs on September 10. On receiving no response they wrote to the two ministries again on September 15 and then again on September 21. The MEA finally woke up from its slumber and informed the
Pakistan high commission on September 26. That’s when Nawaz’s family in Karachi got to know.

As if this wasn’t insensitivity enough, it’s been five days since then and there is no news when the body could be sent to Karachi. The Gujarat government is yet to hear from the MHA or MEA.

This indifference cannot be explained merely by Nawaz Ali Jat’s nationality, because India clearly doesn’t care much about Indian fishermen in Pakistani jails either. Rambhai, an Indian fisherman, died in Karachi on May 28 this year, and it took over 40 days for his body to reach Mumbai, India and Pakistan’s reaction, as also of the media in both countries, would have been very different had these people been middle class city folk rather than poor coastal fishermen.

Indian and Pakistani fishermen are regularly arrested in the Arabian Sea between Gujarat and Sind. These are fishermen who have been fishing in these waters for generations. They did not ask for these maritime boundaries. More Indian fishermen than Pakistani ones get arrested, becausesome of the Indian fishermen deliberately take risk and cross the maritime boundary because there’s more fish there. This is partly because industrial
pollution has destroyed the ecology of the Gujarat coast. But often, it is bad weather or dysfunctional GPS that makes them cross that invisible border in the sea.

Another reason for such regular arrests is the Sir Creek dispute, where India and Pakistan disagree on what the maritime boundary is. On September 29, for instance, the Border Security Force arrested 9 Pakistani fishermen near Sir Creek in Bhuj. ‘The intruders were not found in possession of any objectionable materials apart from a large cache of fish stored in their boat,’* noted without irony.

Apart from Sir Creek area and the island of Diu (a Union territory), the affected Gujarat districts are Porbandar, Junagadh and Jamnagar in theSaurashtra region. The fishermen are from the Koli and Kharwa communities, though there are some tribals too. On the Pakistani side the fishermen are Muslim Kolis. These fishermen use not small boats but large trawlers.

They’re at sea for days. One trawler costs as much as Rs 50 lakh and up to
a hundred people are dependent on it for their livelihood. When a trawler
is caught by the Pakistanis, the Gujarat government gives each prisoner’s
family a princely sum of Rs 175 a day.

Jatin Desai, who is also joint secretary of the Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, has been following the issue for years. He tells me that until 1996, Pakistan used to release the fishermen with the trawlers on the same sea. But to discourage them they started retaining the trawlers and sending the fishermen via Wagah. This cripples them financially even after they return. As part of the ongoing India-Pakistan peace process the two countries have released hundreds of imprisoned fishermen in batches this year. But they still have the trawlers. Pakistan has some 600 of them, whereas India has 120.

There are around 45 Indian fishermen in Karachi’s Malir jail, of whom 11 were arrested last month. The number of Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails at present is 60, in various jails in Gujarat. Desai tells me that this is the lowest figure of Indian fishermen in Pakistani jails since 1999. Until last year, the number of Indian fishermen in Pakistani jails was invariably
over 300, and that of Pakistani fishermen in India was never below 100.

When a security force finds the vessel of another country within its maritime borders — with no “objectionable materials apart from a large cache of fish” — why can’t they simply ask the vessel to return? What purpose is served by the arrests, keeping in jail (on tax-payers’ money!) for years and then releasing them like doves as some meaningless
‘confidence building measure’?

Saadat Hasan Manto‘s *Toba Tek Singh*, the no man’s land where his protagonist Bishan Singh dies because he refuses to choose between India and Pakistan, was still a piece of land. What did Manto know that the men who rule India and Pakistan extend their territorial madness even to the high seas, arresting each other’s Bishan Singhs daily, drilling into them that they aren’t simply the fishermen of the Arabian Sea but of India and Pakistan and they better know how to recognise which droplet of the sea belongs to which country

Shivam Vij


Pakistan–Dalits express concern over Hindus’ migration


By: Our Staff Reporter | August 14, 2012 |The Nation
Dalits express concern over Hindus’ migration

KARACHI – The Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN) and the Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) have expressed serious concerns over growing insecurity among the Hindu population in Sindh, which is causing migration of hundreds of families from Sindh and Balochistan to India since many years.
In a joint statement, the PDSN representative Zulfiqar Shah, and PPC Secretary General B M Kutty said on Monday that both the federal and the provincial governments had failed to protect the lives, dignity and properties of the Hindu community and other vulnerable groups, which is creating unrest among a larger section of the population. The kidnapping for ransom, abduction and conversion of Hindu girls; growing lawlessness; forced encroachment of Hindus families properties; and growing violence against minorities in Sindh districts of Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Sukkur and Kandhkot had become an everyday story now.
“We consider the ongoing development as highly unsatisfactory and a cause of great concern for all the citizens. According to the Constitution and international law, it is the responsibility of the state to protect lives and properties of all citizens without any discrimination. Unfortunately, the vulnerable religious groups face tougher social, religious and economic challenges to the extent that that leaving the country is the only option to save their lives,” the joint statement stated.
In Pakistan, religious minorities especially Hindus have to struggle with discrimination on religious basis while they face social exclusion and unabated violence in rural areas where feudal power elite exploit them socially, economically and politically. These feudal elites harass them and also encroach upon their properties.
Another powerful religious group which has the backing of political parties is busy in forcible conversation of Hindu girls after kidnapping them. These girls are forced to embrace Islam or she is threatened with dire consequences.
Recent incidents of Rinkal Kumari, Dr Asha and Manesha Kumari are some incidents of forcible conversion of Hindu girls. The families of these unfortunate girls are either considering leaving the country or move from their ancestor villages to other cities.
The PDSN and the PPC pointed out that local media has been reporting Hindu citizens’ migration to India for security reasons for the last many years but the state functionaries did not pay any heed to address the situation.
The recent national media reports of the migration of Hindu families from Jacobabad, in large numbers, has suddenly caught the attention of the state machinery that is spending more energies on covering the issue than addressing it. The FIA, under the directives of the Federal Interior Minister, reportedly forcibly stopped over 150 Hindus at the Wagah border in Lahore. They were coerced to sign an affidavit committing a return to Pakistan.
These types of pressure tactics are not only a violation of the right to free movement of citizens, they will never help the exodus of the Hindu community that receives little support from the state in terms of security and well-being. The PDSN and the PPC called for serious measures to address the grievances of the Hindu community and all the non-Muslim members of the state.


Hindu teen girl kidnapped in Pakistan #VAW #Minorityrights



Agencies : Islamabad , Thu Aug 09 2012

A 14-year-old Hindu girl has been kidnapped from Pakistan‘s Sindh province, triggering widespread concern among the minority community members and reports of their apparent exodus.

The teenage girl, Manisha Kumari, was kidnapped from Jacobabad in Sindh, which has a sizeable Hindu population, on Tuesday, Pakistan Hindu Council president Jethanand Doonger Mal Kohistani said today.

“Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has taken notice of the matter and asked provincial Minority Affairs Minister Mohan Lal to visit Jacobabad to look into the issue,” Kohistani said.

The kidnapping of the girl from Jacobabad and the abduction of 11 Hindu traders from Balochistan and Sindh provinces over the past few months has added to the community’s concerns, Kohistani said.

“There is sadness among Hindus as the law and order situation is deteriorating. Even Muslims have been affected by the deteriorating situation, it is not just the Hindus,” he said.

Though TV news channels claimed several Hindu families from Jacobabad had decided to migrate to India because of forced conversions, extortion and kidnapping, Kohistani and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan activist Amarnath Motumal said there was no evidence to substantiate these reports.

Babu Mahesh Lakhani, the head of a Hindu panchayat, had claimed several Hindu families had decided to migrate to India and others were planning to follow them as they felt insecure in Pakistan.

Some Hindu leaders even claimed 60 families had left for India and more families would cross via the Wagah border this week.

However, sources in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad said there were no reports of mass movements of Hindu families via Wagah.

Kohistani acknowledged that Hindus were facing pressure due to the poor law and order situation but said there was no exodus.

“The land of the Indus river is our motherland. Some people may be going to India on a pilgrimage or a private visit,” he said.

He added that police were not helping Hindus being targeted by criminal elements for extortion and kidnapping.

“Right now, three traders from Balochistan and eight more from Sindh are being held hostage. There are unconfirmed reports that one trader from Khuzdar (in Balochistan) may have been killed by his abductors,” he said.

Rights activist Motumal said he had conducted inquiries and found no proof of an exodus.

“I am not saying that the Hindu community is not being pressured in the interiors of Sindh but the reports that they are migrating to India in droves are not verifiable,” he said.

He said he had personally gone looking for people who claimed there was an exodus from Sindh but could not find any proof.

“There might be a few families where one member left for India to settle there and then asked other members to join him. These families are leaving due to existing problems but the numbers are not so high,” he said.

Officials said a group of Hindu families from Sindh and Balochistan is set to travel to India for a pilgrimage to Haridwar on 30 days’ visas. Some sections of the media wrongly projected it as an exodus, they said.

Motumal blamed “extremist religious groups” for pressuring members of the Hindu community in Sindh to convert to Islam.

“Businessmen are being targeted for extortion and kidnapping but the situation is such that no one – Shias, Sunnis, Hindus, Sindhis is safe,” he said.

Reports over the past two years have said that dozens of Hindu families from Balochistan and Sindh had moved to India after the community was targeted by criminals and militants.

Hindus have also been shaken by several high-profile cases of the kidnapping and alleged forced conversion of women.

Indian officials have acknowledged there was a trend of Pakistani Hindus extending their stay in India after entering on a valid visa.


Warm memories of time in Pak jail

Justice Nasir Aslam Ahmed

Justice Nasir Aslam Ahmed

Anahita Mukherji, Times of India |

Within half an hour of the retreat ceremony at the Wagah-Attari junction,
the two gates on either side of a thin white line that forms the border
between India and Pakistan were re-opened once again at twilight on January
8. And 183 weary-eyed Indian prisoners released from Pakistan began
trickling into the country.

Of these, 179 were fisherfolk from Gujarat who had accidentally crossed the
invisible line in the sea that divides India from Pakistan. But as Sunday
Times sat down to listen to their stories, expecting tales of terror and
torture, what came out was both uplifting and heartwarming. Our prisoners
had actually come home with fond memories of their stay in Pakistan’s

While a Karachi prison scarcely seems the place for Hindu-Muslim unity, the
fishermen spoke highly of the Pakistani inmates with whom they shared jail
space. The Pakistani convicts went out of their way to help the fishermen
adjust to life in prison. “We became one large family,” says Bharat Suda
Soma. “We were never discriminated against for being Hindu. Whenever we
needed something, like soap or buckets, the Pakistani prisoners would get
it for us.” Pakistani jailers, who gave the fishermen hope that they would
soon be out, came in for praise, too: “The jailers liked us as we were
well-behaved. They would let us go for walks in prison.”

Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, retired Pakistan Supreme Court judge and current
chairman of the Pakistani government‘s Committee for Welfare of Prisoners,
says, “The Indian prisoners in our custody are well looked after. Someone
from our office visits them every day.” It was on Zahid’s mobile phone
that three minors released last week recall speaking to their families
while in prison. “Whenever I spoke to my mother, she would cry and ask me
when I would come home,” 16-year-old Kamlesh told this reporter after he
entered India.

The fishermen had spent between a year and 15 months in jail. Ram Singh
Shamat of Junagadh district was in prison for two years. He had no idea he
had crossed into Pakistani waters until he heard a shot fired in the air
before being captured. “I was very scared. I had no idea what was going to
happen,” he says.

Their joy at being released was, of course, tempered with grief for their
fellow fisherfolk left behind in prison. In a remarkable show of solidarity
with their brethren, the fishermen painstakingly drew up a list of 61 men –
with details of villages and talukas and dates on which they were arrested
– still in Pakistani jail. Each of the released fishermen has two
photocopies of this list which they hope to circulate amongst the media and
activists in a bid to get their friends free.

Jatin Desai, joint secretary of the Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace
and Democracy, feels that fishermen should be released by sea with their
boats instead of the long route via land, from Karachi to the Wagah border
and then onwards from Amritsar to Gujarat.

While 276 Indian fishermen still remain in Pakistani prisons, 29 Pakistani
fishermen are in Indian jails. India released 121 fishermen last year.
Zahid feels there should be a bilateral committee of officials on board a
ship between the two countries, looking at cases of fishermen straying
across the border and settling the matter in the sea itself. Because no
amount of affection in a foreign jail can make up for lost time with loved
ones back home


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