Pakistan releases 45 Indian fishermen

Islamabad, May 24 (IANS) Pakistan Friday freed 45 India fishermen as a goodwill gesture, officials said.

Pakistan caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso decided last week to release the Indian fishermen who have already served their sentence.

The authorities released a group of 45 prisoners from a Karachi prison. They later boarded a bus that will bring them to the eastern city of Lahore where they will be handed over to the Indian authorities on the Wagah border, reported Xinhua.

TV footage showed the freed prisoners were happy at the Pakistani government’s decision.

Pakistan and India routinely arrest fishermen after they cross the maritime boundaries for fishing.

Both countries have not succeeded in determining their water boundaries despite series of dialogue on the issue.

At present, 482 Indian prisoners are in Pakistani jails whereas 496 Pakistanis are in Indian jails.

When the Pakistani prime minister ordered their release, he expressed the hope that the Indian government will reciprocate the gesture and release Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails who have completed their sentence.

The foreign ministry has initiated dialogue with India for the swap of prisoners, officials said.

The decision to free Indian prison came days after tensions between the neighbours following attacks in jails on an Indian and a Pakistani prisoners. Both later died of wounds.

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