Pakistan hands over 20 Indian fishermen to India

Attari (Amritsar)/Islamabad, Jan 24 (PTI) Twenty Indian fishermen arrested by Pakistan for allegedly entering into the country’s territorial waters were handed over to India through the border on Monday.

They crossed over to India through the land transit route of Attari border on Monday evening, said officials at the Attari border.

They entered India on the basis of ‘Emergency Travel Certificate’ issued by the Indian High commission at Islamabad.

All of the twenty fishermen were released from Landhi district Jail of Malir, Karachi on completion of their sentences. They were escorted to Lahore by road by Pakistan-based NGO Edhi Foundation.

The moment the fishermen crossed over to India, they knelt and kissed the ground. All were medically examined, including for COVID-19, said the officials.

They will stay for a night here in Amritsar, they said, adding that the fishermen will proceed back home to their native place in Gujarat on Tuesday.

Some of them had undergone around four years of jail term in Pakistan after their arrest by the Pakistani Coast Guards.

They were arrested when their boats slipped into Pakistan through territorial waters in the Arabian Sea.

The fishermen thanked Edhi Foundation which helped them to return home.

Pakistan and India regularly arrest rival fishermen for violating the maritime boundary which is poorly marked at some points.

According to the lists of prisoners exchanged by India and Pakistan at the start of this year, at least 628 Indian prisoners were held in Pakistan, including 51 civilians and 577 fishermen.

India also shared the list of 355 Pakistani prisoners in India, including 282 civilians and 73 fishermen.

Fishermen from Pakistan and India usually end up in jails after they are arrested for fishing illegally in each other’s territorial waters.