A delegation of Pakistani and Indian civil society leaders working for the release of detained fishermen met with Chairperson United Progressive Alliance Sonia Gandhi, Indian Home MInister P Chidambaram and Indian Minister for External Affairs S M Krishna in India on Friday.
The delegation is lobbying for the release of Pakistani fishermen detained in India, following the release of 454 Indian fishermen by Pakistan.
All these fishermen have served their sentences for “violating” a non-demarcated sea border between Pakistan and India.
The delegation was informed that India will hand over 31 Pakistanis including seven fishermen to the Pakistani authorities on September 15 at the Wagah border.
However, in the case of the other 58 prisoners, whose sentence is over, their nationality is yet to be verified by the Pakistan government. The Pakistani Interior Ministry’s slow response to the request for verification of the nationality of the detained fishermen has subjected the 58 Pakistani prisoners to several months of ordeal and torment.
Sonia Gandhi, in the meeting with the delegation assured help on prisoner’s issue.
The delegation also urged Gandhi to ask the Indian government to take the initiative to call a meeting of the Saarc countries to set up a relief fund for the people of Pakistan.
The delegation comprised Justice (Retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid, Former Law and Human Rights Minister and Senator Iqbal Haider, Executive Director Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research Karamat Ali, Indian Journalist Kuldip Nayar, Indian Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, and Indian Activist Jatin Desai.