Court orders repatriation of 350 Indian fishermen

By Zubair Ashraf
On January 5 this year, Islamabad released 219 Indian fishermen as a 'goodwill' gesture to New Delhi. PHOTO: REUTERS

On January 5 this year, Islamabad released 219 Indian fishermen as a ‘goodwill’ gesture to New Delhi. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: 

A court in Karachi on Tuesday ordered repatriation of 350 Indian fishermen after they pleaded guilty of fishing in Pakistani territorial waters.

Judicial magistrate Salman Amjad Siddiqui visited the district jail in Malir to indict the fishermen, who have been detained since January 27. Cases were registered against them under Sections 3/4 of the Foreigners Act, 1964 and 3/9 of the Fisheries Act, 1897 at the Docks police station.

The court showed leniency in convicting the fishermen as they have already spent a long time in detention and directed jail authorities to arrange for their repatriation.

 Maritime Security Agency arrested scores of Indian fishermen between January 27 and May 4 this year when they were found fishing Pakistani territorial waters in the Arabian Sea.

Every year dozens of Indian and Pakistani fishermen are detained after straying across maritime borders. They often languish in prison even after serving their sentences, as poor diplomatic relations between the bitter nuclear foes hamper the bureaucratic process. Pakistan released 219 Indian fishermen as a goodwill gesture in January this year.

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