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Pakistan, India to release fishermen on 22nd

December 20, 2006

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VADODARA (Gujarat), Dec 19: India and Pakistan will release nearly 500 fishermen in each other’s custody at the Wagah border on December 22, officials said on Tuesday.

India will release over 60 Pakistani fishermen and Islamabad will set free over 430 Indian fishermen in exchange, the officials told the PTI news agency.

The Indian fishermen, most of them from Gujarat state, had been caught by Pakistan’s Maritime Security Agency from the sea.

The Pakistani fishermen, held in Jamnagar jail in Saurashtra (Kathiawar), will be taken to the Wagah border for handind over after their identification is completed, the officials said.

A team of officials of the Gujarat fisheries department is leaving for Wagah to receive over 430 fishermen belonging to various parts of the state.

Such an exchange by the two countries is taking place after a long gap, the officials said.

At present there are 536 Indian fishermen in Pakistan’s custody. Of these, 431 were captured between September 2005 and September this year.

The Maritime Security Agency also seized 307 Indian boats. However, there was no official word on the handing over of the boats.—Online