Ahmedabad: Pakistan will release 86 Indian fishermen languishing in a Karachi prison on March 21, a Gujarat government official said today. These fishermen had been apprehended by the Pakistan Marine Security Agency (PMSA) for allegedly violating International Maritime Boundary Line between the two countries and had been languishing in Karachi’s Landhi jail for around a year.
Pakistan had earlier announced that it would release 86 fishermen in addition to 87 others, who were released on March 7.
“Another group of 86 Indian fishermen jailed in Karachi’s Landhi jail will be released on March 21,” Assistant Superintendent, Gujarat Fisheries Department in Veraval, Vimal Pandya told PTI.
“The fishermen to be released on March 21 had been arrested by the PMSA around a year back after their boats drifted into Pakistan waters crossing the maritime border between India and Pakistan in the Arabian Sea,” he said.
These fishermen would reach the Wagah border on March 22, but would take another couple of days to reach their homes in Gujarat, Pandya said.
Meanwhile, National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) secretary Manish Lodhari said they have received a list of 18 fishermen, who have been languishing in Pakistan jail for around three years.
The jailed fishermen sought their release through a letter that they sent with the recently-released fishermen.
“As many as 18 fishermen have been in Pakistan jail for three years now, despite completing their jail term. They wrote to us requesting to take up their case and facilitate their release. Even now, there are still more than 400 fishermen languishing in Pakistani jails,” Lodhari said.
Lodhari, who is also the president of Porbandar Fishermen Boat Association, had recently written to Prime
Minister Narendra Modi and urged to initiate efforts to release all jailed Indian fishermen along with boats seized by PMSA.
There are as many as 860 Indian fishing boats in Pakistan custody, he added.