Despite a complete halt to bilateral talks between India and Pakistan, 439 Indian fishermen languishing in Pakistani jails will return home in two batches, a pressure group said on Friday.
The move would bring good cheer to the fishing community as the first batch is scheduled to be home on Christmas.
Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) spokesperson Jatin Desai said that while 220 fishermen would be back on Sunday, the remaining 219 would return on January 5, 2017.
“The release is important as there is no bilateral talks and there is complete pause on the dialogue,” he added.
Desai said the PIPFPD has even urged the Indian government to reciprocate by releasing Pakistani fishermen languishing in Indian prisons.
Currently, there are 516 Indian fishermen nabbed and put in Karachi jails, while 80 Pakistani fisherfolk were put in prisons in Gujarat.
“The India-Pakistan Judicial Committee on Prisoners (IPJCP), set up in 2008 must meet urgently,” Desai said pointing out that both countries must pursue a ‘No Arrest Policy’ as far as fishermen were concerned.
They should also release all the confiscated fishing boats as it was their only means of livelihood, he added.
The IPJCP used to meet regularly every six months, but did not meet since the BJP-led government assumed power, Desai said.