Pakistan frees 100 Indian fishermen

Pakistan Monday freed 100 Indian fishermen from a prison in the port city of Karachi, a media report said.

Islamabad: Pakistan Monday freed 100 Indian fishermen from a prison in the port city of Karachi, a media report said.

They were expected to leave the Malir prison for Lahore by road, Dawn reported. They are being released on the order of the federal government, it said.

Some 442 Indian fishermen who completed their prison sentences will be released in four batches. This is the first batch.

Another group of 100 fishermen will leave the prison September 2, a third batch of 101 prisoners on September 4, while the last group of 141 prisoners will leave September 6.

They were held for fishing illegally in Pakistani waters near Sir Creek.

An NGO has provided buses to bring them to Lahore. They will cross the Wagah border checkpost Tuesday.

Earlier, the NGOs Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum and Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research had filed a petition in the Supreme Court for release of the fishermen.

On August 12, the court issued notices to the Foreign Affairs and Interior Ministries, asking them on what grounds the Indian fishermen were being held as they had completed their sentences.

The Foreign Ministry later told the court it had no objection to release the fishermen.

Former federal law minister Iqbal Haider, who had taken up the case for the NGOs, said there are 456 Indian fishermen in Pakistani jails but the government ordered the release of 442. The fate of 14 other fishermen was not yet known.

IANS

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