India repatriates 59 Pakistani fishermen
The fishermen, aged between 16 and 50 years, had been held in Indian jails for the past nine months.india Updated: May 29, 2006 19:50 IST
India on Monday released 59 Pakistani fishermen who had been arrested for illegal fishing in its waters at the border crossing.
The fishermen, aged between 16 and 50 years, had been held in Indian jails for the past nine months. They were handed over to Pakistani officials after being brought here from Jamnagar in Gujarat.
They were repatriated on the basis of emergency travel certificates issued by the Indian High Commission since none of them possessed valid passports. They had inadvertently entered Indian waters while fishing in the Arabian Sea.
The fishermen, most of them from the Pakistani port city of Karachi, said they were relieved after being set free from prison. Some of them claimed they would be unable to rejoin their profession on reaching Pakistan as their boats were still being held by Indian authorities.
According to sources here, Pakistan will repatriate 71 Indian fishermen on Tuesday. All of them had been detained after they inadvertently entered Pakistan's territorial waters.
As part of their ongoing efforts to improve relations, India and Pakistan had decided to speed up the release of fishermen held in each other's jails.