Pakistan freed 315 Indian fishermen, including over 20 juveniles, from a prison in Karachi as a goodwill gesture. Officials said that they had been sent to Lahore to be repatriated via the Wagah land border crossing, after completing certain formalities.
"One prisoner, who had recently undergone surgery, was unfit to travel and could not join the others as they set off by road for Lahore after being freed from Malir Jail in the port city this morning," officials told.
The fishermen were freed a day after a mix-up over the release of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian who has been on death row for two decades following his conviction for alleged involvement in a string of bombings in Punjab province.
Hours after reports emerged that Pakistan was to free Sarabjit, the presidential spokesman clarified that steps were being taken to release another Indian prisoner Surjeet Singh, whose death sentence was commuted in 1989 and who has already served a life term.
Reports suggested that Surjeet Singh, currently held at Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore, was expected to be freed along with the fishermen but there was no official word in this regard.
Talking to reporters in Islamabad, Rehman Malik, the head of the Interior Ministry, said Pakistan is taking steps to free Indian fishermen arrested for straying across the maritime boundary without conducting any trial.
Reportedly, about 130 Indian fishermen are still in Malir Jail in Karachi.