ISLAMABAD: having released 150 Indian fishermen in May, Pakistan announced on Monday that it had decided to release 57 Indian fishing boats under its custody as a goodwill gesture
According to a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Modnay, the decision was taken after a nine-member Indian delegation visited Karachi from July 18 to July 20 to inspect the boats and discuss modalities for the release with officials of the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA).
The boats require some minor repairs before they can be handed over despite PMSA’s efforts to keep the boats in good condition. To oversee the repairs before the boats are returned in mid-September, Indian officials will visit for a follow-up in August.
PMSA authorities often apprehend Indian fishermen and boats for violating Pakistan’s territorial waters. Mostly of the boats are not returned as they are not in seaworthy condition. However, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered that these boats should also be returned and hence, efforts are being undertaken by the PMSA to ensure that the boats are returned to their rightful owners.
The foreign office said that Pakistan views the issue of prisoners as a humanitarian one and continues to make efforts for their release as soon as their prison sentence has been completed.
Pakistan also calls upon India to adhere to the Consular Agreement of 2008 and recommendations of the Judicial Committee on Prisoners to release all Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentence.