Not arresting fishermen best confidence-building measure for India, Pak

Karachi, Mar. 26 : Civil Society organizations have opined that the best confidence building policy between India and Pakistan will be not to arrest fishermen.

These views were expressed by Mohammad Ali Shah, Chairperson of Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF); Jatin Desai, senior journalist from Mumbai, India; Karamat Ali, and Executive Director, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) at a press conference held at the Karachi Press Club, reports the Daily Times.

The speakers said that during the last month around 40 Indian boats were confiscated, and 100 fishermen arrested by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA). The fishermen have been put behind bars in Karachi's Malir jail, bringing the total number of Indian fishermen in Malir Jail to 342.

According to official data provided in the Supreme Court of India as on February 12, 2013 a total of 297 Pakistanis are in Indian jails, including 37 fishermen.

They said that the process of verification of citizens is quite cumbersome, as according to the list submitted by Indian government, there are 35 Pakistanis who have completed their sentences or there is no offence registered against them.

A large number of fishing boats are lying on Karachi coast and in Saurashtra region of the Indian state of Gujarat. Most of these boats are damaged or their machinery stolen. There are reports that the PMSA has recently auctioned some of the Indian boats at throwaway prices, which is illegal and a violation of the international laws and treaties.

According to data gathered from various sources, about 765 boats of Indian fishermen are lying along Karachi coast, whereas Indian Coast Guards confiscated over 200 fishing boats of Pakistani fishermen.

--ANI (Posted on 26-03-2013)

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