Pakistan on Saturday released all Indian fishermen in its jails as a goodwill gesture for External Affairs Minister S M Krishna’s visit here.
“All Indian fishermen have been released -- those who have completed their jail terms and those who are still serving,” Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said at a joint press conference with her visiting Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna.
Mr. Krishna thanked the Pakistan government for the “wonderful gesture” of releasing all Indian fishermen. “I hope their boats and trawlers are also released,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the announcement in this regard was made by Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik after signing the new liberalised visa agreement with Krishna.
Over 80 Indian fishermen were in Pakistani jails while some 120 Pakistani fishermen were in Indian jails.
Last month also, Pakistan had freed 55 Indian fishermen as a “goodwill gesture” on the occasion of India’s Independence Day.
On the visa agreement, Mr. Malik said it was signed as a “gesture of friendship“.
“We have liberalised most of the things. It’s a very significant move,” he said.
Speaking on the issue of terrorism, Mr. Malik said more cooperation was needed between the two countries to tackle the threat from the sea route.
“There was need to have more cooperation, but if we could have stopped sea-borne terrorists, we would have stopped the terror here also,” he said asserting that terrorists have no religion.
His remarks came on a day when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pitched for a comprehensive maritime policy to maintain vigil along the Indian coastal line.
”...There are also indications about terrorist groups maintaining their ability to use the sea route. Vigilance, therefore, needs to be exercised not only on our land borders but along the coast line as well,” Dr. Singh said at a meeting of top Indian police officers in New Delhi.