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Rally seeks release of fishermen from Indian jails

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FISHERMEN community holds a rally in Karachi on Monday for the release of many of its members from Indian jails.—Online
FISHERMEN community holds a rally in Karachi on Monday for the release of many of its members from Indian jails.—Online

KARACHI: From the Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi to Karachi Press Club, families of the fishermen still locked up in Indian jails staged a protest rally organised by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) here on Monday.

The fishermen are in Indian jails for inadvertently crossing over to Indian waters in search of good catch.

Speaking on the occasion, PFF chairman Mohammad Ali Shah said there were 94 Pakistani fishermen languishing in Indian jails and their 391 Indian counterparts in Pakistani jails. He said the minors among them, along with those who had been incarcerated for more than six months, needed to be released on humanitarian grounds.

He said fishermen of both countries suffered badly due to the cruel practice of arresting them by the coast guards of the two states. “It is no solution for a mistake at sea by the poor illiterate fishermen. They are only punished due to the tension between the governments of India and Pakistan,” said Shah.

“The fear of getting arrested has also led to an increased reluctance to [go] fishing in the deep sea, which has had an impact on their livelihood, too,” he pointed out.

“Then confiscating of boats, which are the only means of livelihood of the fishing communities, makes the matter even worse,” he concluded.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2018