South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Mumbai-based activists who have been campaigning for peace between warring neighbours India and Pakistan have expressed happiness that Pakistan has decided to release all Indian fishermen soon.

Writer-activist Jatin Desai said, ” Rehman Malik, interior minister of Pakistan, announced the decision today after he had a meeting with his President Asif Ali Zardari. More than 200 Indian fishermen are held in Pakistani jails. Conversely, there are around 100 Pakistani fishermen in Indian prisons.”

Desai said the arrested Indian fishermen are incarcerated in Malir jail of Karachi. “We welcome this decision of the Pakistani government and appeal to them to also release the boats owned by our fishermen. Around 300 Indian boats are in the custody of Pakistan and these are their only source of livelihood,” he said. The cost of each boat runs into lakhs of rupees and often involves investing a lifetime’s savings.

Urging the Indian government to reciprocate the gesture, Desai appealed for the release of all Pakistani fishermen from Indian jails. “Both countries need to move forward and work for a No Arrest Policy. Poor fishermen are the victims of such hostility. The foreign ministers of our nations must meet soon and move forward. The New Visa Agreement must be implemented from 15 March 2013,” he added.

Source: Times of India – 22/01/2013 (