Pak frees 48 Indian fishermen as goodwill gesture

Islamabad: Pakistan today freed 48 Indian fishermen from a jail in the southern port city of Karachi as a goodwill gesture and sent them to the Wagah land border crossing to be repatriated to India.

The release followed President Asif Ali Zardari’s announcement on Saturday that all Indian fishermen in Pakistani jails, including those who are yet to complete their prison terms, would be freed.

Zardari made the announcement during External Affairs Minister S M Krishna’s visit to Pakistan.

About 50 more Indian prisoners are believed to be in Malir Jail of Karachi, from where the fishermen were freed this morning and sent to Lahore. They will cross over to India via the Wagah border on Tuesday.

Eighteen-year-old Kishan Chand was among those released today. He could not be released earlier because of illness. The Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum has called for the release of Pakistani fishermen currently in Indian jails as a reciprocal gesture.

According to information provided by the government in parliament last month, a total of 428 Pakistani nationals, including 85 fishermen, are currently in Indian jails.