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10 Indian fishermen held in Pak

Pakistani authorities have arrested 10 Indian fishermen who drifted into the country's waters, taking the total number of such arrests to 38.

world Updated: Jan 26, 2008 15:04 IST

In the third incident of its kind this month, Pakistani authorities have arrested 10 Indian fishermen who drifted into the country's waters, taking the total number of such arrests to 38.

The maritime authorities on Friday night took into custody the Indian fishermen some 90 nautical miles (166 km) from the coast and handed them over to the police.

On January 16, six Indian fishermen were arrested. Earlier, 22 more Indian fishermen were taken into custody and six boats were seized.

"Presently there are more than 200 Indian fishermen in Karachi jails," Rahman Munna, secretary of the Pakistan Fishermen Welfare Association, told IANS.

He said two boats of the fishermen were also seized on Friday. The arrested fishermen were accused of illegally fishing in Pakistani waters. They will be produced in a court on Monday.

He said his association was helping the Pakistani authorities in investigating the case and hoped that most of the fishermen would be released soon.

In 2006, Pakistan and India agreed to release each other's fishermen after investigations. Usually the fishermen from Pakistan and India drift to the other country's waters due to sea currents.

Munna said his organisation was taking care of the fishermen's welfare in jail. "We make sure that they are treated well according to the law and provided food according to their religion and customs," said Munna.

"Fishermen ... have requested the two governments to form a committee of fishermen to investigate such cases."

He regretted that no such step had been taken. As a result, fishermen continue to suffer.

"But we are happy that now they are only jailed for some months unlike in the past when they would remain in jails for years," said Munna.