KARACHI: Pakistan on Wednesday released 55 Indian fishermen, 15 of them teenagers, as a “goodwill gesture” to mark Independence Day in India.
The release is part of an understanding between the two countries to free citizens who mistakenly stray into each other’s waters.
“Some 55 Indian fishermen have been released from our jail on the instructions of the government,” said Nazeer Husain Shah, superintendent of Malir district prison in Karachi.
“Those released include 15 teenage boys,” he told AFP.
The Indians were presented with flowers and gifts, and then bused to Lahore, from where they would cross the Wagah border.
Officials say 100 Indian fishermen are still in Pakistani jails and 250 Pakistanis in Indian prisons.
Sindh law minister Ayaz Soomro said the releases were “a goodwill gesture”.
“We hope our neighbours reciprocate in the same spirit and release Pakistani prisoners from their jails,” he said.
The released prisoners were seen off Soomro, Secretary of prisons’ department Ali Hassan Brohi and other officials at around 10am.
On June 27, the Sindh government released 311 Indian fishermen including 21 juvenile prisoners from Karachi jails.
The 21 juvenile prisoners were lodged in the Youthful Offenders’ School adjacent to the Karachi Central Jail, while others were kept in District Jail Malir.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2012.