KARACHI: Nine Pakistani fishermen aboard a fishing vessel were detained by Indian authorities after they allegedly violated the International Maritime Boundary Line, a Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) spokesperson said on Monday.
Quoting Indian media reports, the spokesperson said that these fishermen and their boat ‘Al Aisha’ had been detained on Sunday by Indian Coast Guard personnel at Okha port in Gujarat.
Fresh arrests come just a week after Pakistan freed 26 Indian fishermen as a goodwill gesture just before the formation of the new government in Pakistan on August 13.
None of the fishermen were identified but the spokesperson said that they were from Ali Akbar Shah Goth in the Ibrahim Hyderi locality of Karachi.
“The boat and its crew were escorted to Okha port and were handed over to the local Maritime Police for investigation,” the spokesperson said.
Chairperson of PFF Muhammad Ali Shah said that the maritime boundary between India and Pakistan was not demarcated. “This leads to arrests of fishermen from both countries,” he said.
Shah said that for years, fishermen and their families on both sides of the border feared detentions and financial losses.
According to him, fishing was banned in June and July and fishermen, who set sail in the first week of August, might have mistakenly crossed the undefined boundary in search of better fish catch.
He pointed out that more than 30 fishermen from Karachi, three of whom were brothers from the Rehri Goth, were still languishing in Indian jails for more than 18 years.
“More than 150 other detained fishermen are from Thatta, Sujawal and Badin districts.”
Indian courts, he said, sentenced the fishermen for six months, but the Indian authorities kept them up to three years in jail before handing them over to Pakistani authorities.
Authorities of both countries seized boats and fishing equipment, he complained.