Cases against 127 fishermen disposed of in Pak

Islamabad: Pakistani authorities have informed the Supreme Court that cases registered against 127 Indian fishermen have been disposed of by the Sindh High Court, paving the way for their release.

A member of an inspection team of the Sindh High Court told the apex court yesterday that 13 separate cases registered against the Indian fishermen had been disposed of on the directions of a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

The apex court had recently ordered the High Court to expeditiously decide the cases against the Indian fishermen on merit.

The order was issued in response to a constitutional petition filed in the apex court by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum and the Indian fishermen.

The petitioners challenged the arrest and continuing detention of the Indian fishermen.

India and Pakistan arrest scores of fishermen every year for violating each other`s maritime boundaries.

Many of the fishermen languish in jail for years even after completing prison terms given to them by courts.

Pakistan recently repatriated 12 Indian prisoners, including 11 fishermen, who had been held in a jail in Karachi for nearly three years even after completing their prison terms.

Another 442 Indian fishermen were freed last year after two Pakistani NGOs petitioned the Supreme Court for their release.