Pakistan and India should frame policies to de-criminalise minor visa or border-crossing violations and stop violating a UN convention that prohibits the arrest of fishermen crossing a maritime border, a leading Pakistani rights body said on Wednesday.
With the two countries expected to resume their stalled dialogue, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also asked them to “reconsider the plight of each other’s nationals incarcerated in prisons across the border”.
Pakistan and India should “institute long-term policies to de-criminalise minor visa or border-crossing violations and stop violating Article 73 (enforcement of laws and regulations of the coastal state) of the UN Convention on Law of the Sea that prohibits the arrest of fishermen crossing a maritime border”, HRCP said in a statement.
The organisation said it endorsed the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum’s demand for a permanent solution that includes a policy in which Pakistan and India stop arresting each other’s fishermen for maritime boundary violations. When making such arrests, security agencies seize boats, equipment and catch worth lakhs of rupees. Dozens of such boats are now “rotting in harbours on either side”, the group said.
It also called for an early resumption of the reciprocal exchange of prisoners, which had been halted since the Mumbai attacks in November last year.