KARACHI: In reply to Pakistan’s goodwill gesture of releasing 360 Indian fishermen last month, India has reciprocated by releasing six Pakistani prisoners, who reached Karachi on Friday.
Four of the returning men are fishermen belonging to Jati, Sujawal district, while two are civilians who got into trouble in India after their visas expired.
All crossed over to Pakistan recently via the Wagah border. The fishermen reached the Edhi Foundation head office near Tower in the morning, where their families were already waiting impatiently to be reunited with them.
Over 100 Pakistani fishermen are still languishing in Indian prisons
The fishermen — Ghulam Mustafa, Ali Mohammad, Sher Ali and Saddam Hussain — had unknowingly drifted over to Indian waters during a fishing expedition in the monsoon months of June and July last year.
On the occasion, Fishermen’s Cooperative Society chairman Abdul Berr said that India’s reply to Pakistan’s releasing so many fishermen earlier showed their lack of compassion. “It is like a drop in the ocean,” he said.
There are currently 102 Pakistani fishermen locked up in Indian jails, and there are 24 more, who have been lost at sea during a recent storm.
“We fear that the 24 fishermen, who have been missing since the storm, may also have been picked up by the Indian forces and it could be that they are also languishing in Indian jails now though there has been no word from India about them so far,” Mr Berr added.
Edhi Foundation chairman Faisal Edhi said that the fishermen in Indian jails should also be released by India and brought back.
He added that it was a terrible practice by both India as well as Pakistan to confiscate fishing boats after arresting the fishermen.
“And the boats on which their bread and butter depends are never returned even after the fishermen are released,” he said.
It was mentioned that there are some 132 Pakistani fishing trawlers rotting away in India currently.
Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2019