Pakistan releases 100 more Indian fishermen via Attari-Wagah border

Pakistan on Monday released as many as 100 fishermen who were held prisoner in the country, upon the completion of their sentences, in the second batch of the process being carried out as a “goodwill gesture.”

The fishermen crossed over to the Indian side via the Attari-Wagah border. On April 7, the country had released the first batch of 100 prisoners from India.

It has decided to release 360 Indian prisoners on “humanitarian basis” upon completion of their sentences from next Monday, Radio Pakistan had reported earlier this month.

It said the 360 Indian prisoners which include mostly fishermen, will be released in four phases over the month of April, with the process starting on April 07.
The Pakistan Foreign Office said the act is being done as a “goodwill gesture”, adding that it hoped reciprocation from India, the Dawn reported.
This comes amidst tensions between the two countries after the Pulwama terror attack.

Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said the process of releasing the Indian fishermen will start on April 8 when 100 prisoners will be released. In the second phase on April 15, another 100 will be released. In the third phase on April 22, another 100 will be released and in the fourth and last phase on April 29, the remaining 60 prisoners will be released.

Faisal said currently there are 347 Pakistani prisoners in India and 537 Indian prisoners in Pakistan. “Pakistan will release 360 Indian prisoners, of which 355 are fishermen and 5 are civilians,” he said. The fishermen will be taken from Karachi to Lahore and handed over to Indian officials at the Wagah border.

Pakistan and India frequently arrest fishermen as there is no clear demarcation of the maritime border in the Arabian Sea and these fishermen do not have boats equipped with the technology to know their precise location.

Owing to lengthy and slow bureaucratic and legal procedures, the fishermen usually remain in jail for several months and sometimes years.