Indian prisoner's body arrives 21 days after his death in Pakistan jail

14 Pakistani fishermen will also reach Wagah border today.

Web Desk/our Correspondent July 29, 2013
A file photo of fishermen from India sit while waiting after their release from a prison in Karachi. PHOTO: PFF/FILE

MUMBAI/ KARACHI: The remains of Indian prisoner Dadubhai Makwana, who had died in Karachi jail on July 4, were flown to Mumbai last Thursday, almost 21 days after his death, Times of India reported.

A special ambulance dispatched by the Gujarat fisheries department transported the body to his native village for the last rites.

Dadubhai, a 41-year-old fisherman from Ghatwad village near Kodinar, was arrested by the Pakistani Coast Guard as he had unwittingly trespassed into their territory during a fishing trip last year.

"Since then we have been trying to secure his freedom even as we helped his family with a subsistence allowance of Rs150 per day. However, we learnt that Dadubhai died in Karachi prison on July 4, allegedly of a heart attack," said Gujarat fisheries official J K Rathod.

Rathod and his assistant KK Masani took possession of the corpse at Sahar police station before beginning the 17-hour journey to his home.

"Dadubhai's wife and four children back home in Kodinar are doubly distressed by his sudden death as well as the delay in repatriating his remains," they said.

India-Pakistan peace activist Jatin Desai lamented the delay and said the governments of India and Pakistan should expedite the procedure. "Earlier, the body of Indian fisherman Ramjibhai Vala took 45 days to be returned while that of Pakistani fisherman Nawaz Ali was sent home after 25 days," he said.

14 Pakistani fishermen to reach Wagah border today

Fishermen Cooperative Society (FCS) officials will receive 14 Pakistani fishermen released by Indian authorities. These all are crews of two small boats-Al-Kabootar and Al-Madina - which were caught by Indian coastal forces on January 7, 2013 while they were on their routine trip to open sea for a fish catch. They were put in jails over the common charges of violating the maritime territory.

FCS Manager Welfare Ghulam Rasool Shaikh, who deals with the matters related to detained fishermen, said that they had received a letter from Ministry of Interior and Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi that 14 fishermen and eight other Pakistani citizens were being released. The freed fishermen will cross the Wahga border on July 30, 2013, where FCS officials will receive them.

The fishermen being released include Yar Mohammed son of Soomar Mallah, Qasim Mallah son of Laung Mallah, Ramzan son of Laung Mallah, Hashim son of Laung Mallah, Soomar son of Laung Mallah, Abdul son of Laung Mallah, Qadir Bakhsh son of Ibrahim Mallah, Akbar son of Hussain mallah, Ghulam Qadir son of Pir Bakhsh, Allah Bachayo son of Hamza Mallah, Qasim son of Hamza Mallah, Ishaq son of Hamza Mallah, Niaz son of Malhar Mallah and Mashooq son of Yar Mohammed Mallah.

They belong to scattered villages of Ladyoon, Thatta district.

According to FCS officials, Indian Counseling identified 59 Pakistani fishermen out of total 140 to be released before Edul Fitr a few days ago. Later, they decided to release only 14 fishermen.

FCS Chairman Abdul Saeed Khan said they were negotiating with the Federal Interior Ministry, Pakistan High Commission in India and Sindh Home Ministry to see the release of all the Pakistani fishermen from Indian jails before Eidul Fitr.

He said that they had asked Pakistan to to verify the list of 115 fishermen by talking to their (fishermen’s) parents in Karachi, Thatta and Badin districts, which they provided.

"We are still waiting to receive any good news regarding the release of fishermen on the auspicious occasion of Eidul Fitr," he said.

The Pakistan government has released 1100 Indian fishermen during the period from January 2012 to May 2013, while India has released only 94 Pakistani fishermen during the period.