Pakistan releases 147 Indians who were jailed for illegal fishing
A Pakistani official said 147 Indians detained for fishing illegally have been released from prison and handed over to Indian authorities.
The South Asian rivals often arrest fishermen suspected of trespassing in their territorial waters and then periodically release large numbers of them in what are billed as goodwill gestures.
Photographs show the men kissing the ground after making it past the Pakistan-India border.
The cost of repatriating the men is being paid for by the Edhi Foundation, a Pakistan-based not-for-profit welfare organisation, The Hindu reported.
It said that both India and Pakistan tend to seize one-another’s fishermen in the Arabian Sea, which lacks clearly defined borders.
The crude wooden fishing vessels’ lack of hi-tech navigation technology also makes them prone to drifting into the other country’s waters.
Bureaucracy and legal wranglings often mean they are left to languish in prison for months.
Pakistan released 145 Indian fishermen last month and 220 the previous year. India reciprocated after the 2016 release, but freed a smaller number of Pakistani fishermen.
Major Azam Sher, spokesman for Pakistan’s paramilitary rangers, said the 147 were allowed to cross the border into India on Monday. There was no immediate comment from the Indian side.