Karachi: Pakistan will release 151 Indian fishermen tomorrow as a goodwill gesture ahead of the swearing-in ceremony of the new Indian government led by Narendra Modi on Monday.
An official at the Malir jail here, where Indian fishermen are lodged, told PTI that prison authorities have received orders from Islamabad to release the 151 fishermen who will be transported to Wagah border in Lahore. “The government has decided to release these poor fishermen as a goodwill gesture,” he said.
“The fishermen who belong to different Indian states will be given clothing, some cash, gifts and transported in buses from Karachi to Lahore,” a jail source said.
Political analysts said the decision to release the fishermen could be to send positive signals to the new BJP-led government.
Despite pressure from hardliners, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today accepted India's invitation to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Modi.
Last year in August Pakistan had released 337 Indian fishermen from the Malir and Central jails in Karachi as a goodwill gesture. Another 15 Indian fishermen were released as a goodwill gesture on Diwali.
According to Indian fishermen activists, at present around 229 Indian fishermen and about 780 Indian boats are in Pakistani custody.
Similarly, around 200 Pakistani fishermen with 150 boats were lodged in Indian jails.
Fishermen from both countries are routinely arrested and their boats seized by maritime security forces in both countries when they trespass territorial waters jurisdictions.