Pak­istan re­leases In­dian fish­er­men

The Pak Banker - - Front Page - Staff Re­porter

KARACHI: Pak­istan on Mon­day re­leased 100 In­dian fish­er­men im­pris­oned for fish­ing in its ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters, of­fi­cials said, af­ter lobby groups said they were be­ing de­tained be­yond their jail terms.

An­other 342 fish­er­men will also be re­leased in the com­ing week af­ter serv­ing their sen­tences, deputy su­per­in­ten­dent of Landhi prison Shakir Shah told AFP. Pak­istan and In­dia fre­quently seize each other's fish­er­men, ac­cus­ing them of vi­o­lat­ing their re­spec­tive zones in the Ara­bian Sea.

Two lobby groups for Pak­istani fish­er­men had filed a case seek­ing the re­lease of the In­dian fish­er­men in Pak­istan's Supreme Court, and it was still be­ing heard when the au­thor­i­ties made the sud­den de­ci­sion to re­lease them. "We in­formed the Supreme Court that the de­ten­tion of those In­dian fish­er­men who had com­pleted their sen­tences was un­law­ful," said Shu­jaud­din Qureshi, a spokesman for the Pak­istan In­sti­tute of Labour Ed­u­ca­tion and Re­search.

"We are sur­prised that the govern­ment re­leased the fish­er­men while the pe­ti­tion is still pend­ing be­fore the court."

Hun­dreds of In­di­ans and Pak­ista­nis are lan­guish­ing in pris­ons on both sides of the border on charges of spying or il­le­gal en­try.

The South Asian nu­clear-armed ri­vals have fought three wars since the sub­con­ti­nent's 1947 par­ti­tion by Bri­tain.

New Delhi sus­pended a four-year peace process with Is­lam­abad af­ter the 2008 Mum­bai attacks, only re­cently tak­ing ten­ta­tive steps to re­new in­for­mal talks with high-level diplo­matic meet­ings.

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