Pakistan releases Indian fishermen
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.