KARACHI: Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) welcomes the decision of Pakistan government to release 439 arrested Indian fishermen in two batches. A batch of 220 fishermen will be released on 25th December and another batch of 219 on 5th January 2017. The goodwill gesture will go a long way in strengthening relations between the two countries.
The release is also important as there is no bilateral talk and there is complete pause on the dialogue. The PIPFPD demanded that the Indian government must reciprocate by releasing Pakistani fishermen from Indian prisons.
As of today, there are 516 Indian fishermen in Pakistan’s Karachi prison and around 80 Pakistani fishermen in various prisons in Gujarat, India. Fishermen from Saurashtra, Gujarat and Diu have no option but to go towards Pakistan to catch fish and survive. The PIPFPD has been demanding that India and Pakistan must release all the fishermen from their custody. The India-Pakistan Judicial Committee on Prisoners, consisting of retired judges of higher judiciaries, set up by both governments in 2008 needs to meet urgently, according to the PIPFPD. The committee used to meet regularly every six months but have not met since BJP led government came into power.
The PIPFPD demanded that Pakistan should release 22 boats of Indian fishermen as agreed earlier. Both the countries should release confiscated fishing boats which are in a position to sail with some repairs. The boats are the only source of livelihood for fishermen of India and Pakistan, claimed the forum.
The PIPFPD also demanded that both countries pursue a No Arrest Policy in case of fishermen.
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