KARACHI, Oct 30: The Maritime Security Agency has arrested 20 Indian fishermen and seized their 14 boats for fishing in Pakistani waters late Monday evening and handed over them to the Docks police on Tuesday.
Only a few months back, five of these fishermen had been released from a Pakistani jail, said sources in the MSA.
The sources said that the nearly two dozen intruders were caught while fishing between 40 and 50 kilometres inside Pakistani waters, south of Khajar creek, which is one of the major creeks in the Indus delta rich in fish stock.
The five fishermen who had been caught earlier also were Barmhaniya Neelish, Shamjee Bhai, Bavesh, Bhariya Mukesh and Wadhel Udhay Sindh.
One of them had been released just three months back. Neelish had served six and a half months term before being released in July 2012, while Shamjee after serving out seven months sentence here had been sent back home in June 2012.
This year alone, the MSA has caught 268 Indian fishermen while they were fishing in Pakistani waters and seized their 98 boats.
Responding to Dawn queries, Sami Memon of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum said on Tuesday that there were still over 161 Indian fishermen, including the 20 fishermen arrested on Monday, in Pakistani jails though more than 661 Indian fishermen had been released from Pakistani jails and had been sent back home in India this year.
Currently there were 135 Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails, he added.
He said that Pakistan and India shared the sea border at Sir creek and the fishermen from the two sides stray into the other country’s waters while fishing as it is not clearly demarcated. They are caught by the security agencies and put in prisons. After serving out their terms, they return home after a long time only.
He demanded that a joint mechanism be developed whereby the fishermen found in the waters of the other country are sent back after confiscating their catch.