Pakistan releases 55 Indian fishermen, 5 civilians as ‘goodwill gesture’
Karachi, Apr 29: Pakistan on Monday released 55 Indian fishermen and five civilians as a “goodwill gesture” amidst tension between the two countries after the Pulwama terror attack, according to a media report.
The Indian fishermen and citizens, arrested in Pakistan, were released from Karachi’s Malir jail, the Express Tribune reported.
The released prisoners were taken to the Karachi Cantonment Railway Station under heavy security, where they boarded the Business Express for Lahore, the report said.
As a goodwill gesture amid tension with India, Pakistan had announced to release 360 Indian prisoners, including 355 fishermen and five civilians, during April, the report added.
Fifty-five of the men were arrested for illegal fishing in Pakistan’s territorial waters, while the other five were detained for crossing the border illegally.
All of them were taken to Lahore in a train where they are expected to be handed over to the Indian authorities at Wagah border.
On April 7, Pakistan released first batch of 100 fishermen and another 100 were released on April 14.
According to the Edhi Foundation, a non-profit social welfare organisation in Pakistan, Rs 5,000 was given to the fishermen by the foundation and they will send them to Wagah Border via special buses.
According to the lists exchanged by both sides in January, there are 347 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails, 249 of whom are what the spokesman described as civilians and 98 fishermen, the report said.
Pakistan’s announcement to release the fishermen came amidst escalating tensions between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.
India launched a counter-terror operation against a JeM training camp in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.