RAWALPINDI: The 159 Pakistani fishermen, mostly from Karachi and Gawadar, who had been captured with their nine boats by Indian authorities in November, have been released but their boats are still detained by their captors. Their release has been secured after prolonged negotiations with the Indian authorities and after they had suffered one and half months’ imprisonment. A Foreign Office spokesman here today [Jan 16] said: “We view these incidents and the high-handedness of Indian officials with sorrow and regret.

“As compared to the Indian Government’s attitude, Pakistan authorities handed over the 11 Indian sailors who were shipwrecked and rescued by a Pakistani trawler near Karachi in December to the Indian High Commission on Jan 5. They were fed and looked after well.

“According to Pakistani fishermen they were not in Indian waters when they were captured by the Indians. Moreover, an official of Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi was refused permission ... to meet these fishermen. These fishermen were released on Jan 10 and they returned home. But they have been deprived of their boats — their sole means of livelihood. Pakistan Government is still trying to secure the release of these boats. But by the time the Indian Government decides to release them, it is feared, they might be rendered useless.”

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2020