LAHORE: At least 100 fishermen, who crossed into Pakistani waters and violated international maritime borders, were handed over to Indian authorities at Wagah border on Monday.
They were released by Pakistani authorities from Malir Jail in Karachi on Sunday as part of a goodwill gesture.
They travelled to Lahore by Allama Iqbal Express and reached the railway station at noon. They were provided food, drinks and other travel facilities by Edhi Foundation at the station. They were also given Rs5,000 in cash and gifts by the foundation.
Edhi Foundation arranged special buses to transport the fishermen to the Wagah border. The travel expenses from Karachi to Lahore were also covered by the foundation.
The released fishermen expressed their pleasure and joy, saying they were excited to meet their families.
The arrest of fishermen, after crossing sea borders mistakenly, is a serious issue for the community on both sides of the border. Such mistakes have been taking place cor decades in which fishermen from both sides were arrested and their boats impounded. As a result, the fishermen had to spend months and years in jails.
A fishermen activist said that usually, all male members made up the crew of a boat. "When a boat is captured, the life of women and children of the family becomes miserable."
According to Section 2 of Article 73 of the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea, "Arrested vessels and their crews shall be promptly released upon the posting of reasonable bond or other security." Section 3 reads “Coastal state penalties for violations of fisheries laws and regulations in the exclusive economic zone may not include imprisonment, in the absence of agreements to the contrary by the States concerned, or any other form of corporal punishment."
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