At least 61 Indian fishermen have been arrested and their 11 boats were seized by Pakistani authorities for allegedly violating the country’s territorial waters.
The fishermen, who were arrested on Thursday, have been shifted to Docks Police Station in Karachi, a police official said on Friday. All of arrested fishermen have been charged under Foreign Act and Fisheries Act.
The two countries frequently arrest each other’s fishermen whenever they mistakenly enter the unmarked waters between Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh and Gujarat. These fishermen often spend years behind the bars.
More than 150 Indian fishermen with their boats were released when Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharif visited New Delhi in May to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Pakistan said that on the occasion all fishermen whose nationality had been confirmed by India were set free. Still, dozens of fishermen are in Pakistan.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka on Wednesday released five Indian fishermen who were sentenced to death on charges of drug trafficking. The fishermen were pardoned by the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Taking pot-shots at other political parties for claiming credit over release of five Indian fishermen from Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Friday asserted that his AIADMK-led government’s initiatives saved them from gallows and led to their freedom.
In a statement here he said AIADMK government is the ‘true friend’ of the fishermen community and expressed ‘regret’ over attempts to politicise the matter.
“Since this was an international issue, Tamil Nadu government could not have directly contacted Sri Lanka. Only Centre and External Affairs Ministry could communicate and take action. It was Amma (Jayalalithaa) and state government which continuously pressed Centre to discharge its moral responsibility in this matter,” he said.
Meanwhile, BJP’s state unit president Tamizhisai Sounderrajan was critical of Tamil Nadu government for refusing to acknowledge Narendra Modi government’s efforts in securing fishermen release, saying a word of praise for the NDA could have been good in the backdrop of Centre-state relations.
Celebrations erupted soon after their arrival as they were garlanded; offered sweets and crackers were burst.