KARACHI: Sixteen fishermen from Karachi are expected to reach their homes Friday after languishing in Indian jails for 17 months under the charge of trespassing international water boundaries in September 2012.
A senior official of Fishermen’s Cooperative Society Ltd, Ghulam Rasool Shaikh told APP Thursday that the released Pakistanis were among 17 of the crews of fishing boat “Al-Khair 14050-B” that had inadvertently crossed the international boundary, that holds no prominent demarcation.
“One of the crew members Shahnawaz s/o Malang has been detained owing to reasons known only by the Indian authorities,” the Manager, Welfare Department of FCS.
In reply to a question he said all the remaining 16 fishermen have crossed the Wagah border and on completion of necessary interrogation as well as relevant facilities are with Edhi Trust officials of Lahore centre.
“Since they were released by Indian authorities without any prior intimation to their Pakistani counterparts hence we (FCSL) too received the news of their crossing the border only on Wednesday evening,” he said.
The official said that FCSL due to paucity of time, could not this time receive these fishermen, that is generally the practice, however did immediately approach Edhi to ensure boarding lodging and transportation facilities for these FCSL members.
Those released include Shahid s/o Mohammad Hasan, Abdul Rasheed s/o Taj Mohammad, Mohammad Ali s/o Ghulam Mohammad, Ganj Baksh s/o Ghulam Mohammad s/o Ganj Baksh, Zaheer ullah Khan s/o Noor Rehman, Abdul Haleem s/o Mohammad Usman, Mohammad Aslam s/o Mohammad Siddiq, Shabbir Chunoo s/o Mohammad Hakim, Abdul Razzak s/o Ali, Ali s/o Maula Baksh, Syed Ali Khan s/o Noor Rehman, Mohammad Nazir s/o Karim Baksh, Mohammad Anwar s/o Tahir, Babul, Amir Baksh and Bahadur Ali alias Raju.
Shaikh Ghulam Rasool in reply to another question said around 123 fishermen are still in Indian jails and awaiting their release.
“It is unfortunate that our neighbours are not sympathetic towards these hapless souls while on the contrary we Pakistanis have always been more compassionate,” he said.
The FCSL official said it was in June 2013 that 14 of the Pakistani fishermen were released by Indians while Pakistan in the same year had freed more than 200 Indian fishermen.
To another query, Ghulam Rasool Shaikh said confiscation of fishing boats by the two authorities is also an issue that is needed to be addressed as this denies people of their source of livelihood.
“To be honest arrest of fishermen from open water and keeping them jailed for no fault of their needed to be urgently addressed on humanitarian grounds,” he said.