Pakistan releases 89 Indian prisoners

April 14, 2011

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India on April 11 released 39 Pakistani prisoners. Both countries had exchanged a list of prisoners during Interior Secretaries meeting last month. –Photo by AP

KARACHI: Pakistan on Thursday freed 89 Indian fishermen imprisoned for fishing and violating its territorial waters.

“Today we released 89 Indian fishermen from Malir prison as a goodwill gesture,” prisons chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo told AFP.

These fishermen were caught during the past 13-19 months fishing in Pakistani territorial waters, he said.

Two buses set off for the eastern city of Lahore, where they will cross the Pakistan-India border on Friday, he added.

Pakistan and India frequently seize each other's fishermen, accusing them of violating their respective zones in the Arabian Sea.

The Pakistani foreign ministry said India had handed over a list of prisoners during the talks between home secretaries in New Delhi last month.

“The Indian side has handed over 39 Pakistani prisoners on 11 April from the list that Pakistan had given to India,” it said in a statement.

Pakistan last week released a jailed Indian who had been held for 23 years.

The two sides are scheduled to exchange complete lists of prisoners on July 1 under an agreement renewed at the New Delhi meeting.

Under an agreement on consular access signed on May 21, 2008, the two countries are required to exchange lists of prisoners every year on Jan 1 and July 1. But after the Mumbai attacks in November the same year, India stopped providing the list.