Nearly 200 Indian fishermen, who mistakenly entered Pakistan's territorial waters, were released by the Pakistan government on Friday. As happy as they were upon returning home, they demanded the release of the remaining Indians who continue to languish inside Pakistani jails.
These fishermen, mostly from Gujarat, entered India via the Attari-Wagah border on Friday night.
Upon their release, they were seen smiling ear-to-ear but their voice shook as they talked about their Indian brothers still behind inside Pakistani cells.
A fisherman, Umar, who was in jail for almost thirty months, said he mistakenly crossed the border while fishing. "I was in a Pakistani jail for 30 months. We had crossed the border while fishing, after which the Pakistan Police personnel came and took us away. We will tell the government that those who are serving time in Paikstani jails be brought back home soon," he said.
Aniket, another fisherman who returned from Pakistan, said, "I am from Gujarat. Two years ago, while fishing, I strayed across the border due to water currents. There are about 265 Indian fishermen still languishing behind bars in Pakistan. We will ask the government to release them soon."
"Those still locked inside prisons were crying, asking us to appeal to the government to ensure their release at the earliest," Aniket added.
Earlier, on Friday, Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said his government was releasing 200 Indian fishermen and three civilian prisoners as a goodwill gesture.
"Today, Pakistan is releasing 200 Indian fishermen and 3 civilian prisoners. Earlier, 198 Indian fishermen were repatriated on May 12, 2023. This is in line with Pakistan's policy of not politicizing humanitarian matters. Compassion should take precedence over politics," Bilawal tweeted on Friday.
Recently, the Indian Coast Guard ship acted swiftly to free Indian fishermen who were being taken to a Pakistani port by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA).
The incident took place on October 6 when the Indian Coast Guard ship Arinjay received information about an emergency involving an Indian fishing boat Harsiddhi-5 from Jakhau which was involved in fishing activities close to the maritime boundary line off the Gujarat coast, Indian Coast Guard official told ANI.
"On receipt of the information regarding distress onboard Harsiddhi, on radio, ICG ship on patrol immediately proceeded with maximum speed towards the reported position," he said. (ANI)