On plea for release of about 250 fishermen jailed for trespassing on territorial waters
Social activist Anna Hazare on Wednesday expressed support to a Pakistan delegation's demand for release of fishermen jailed for trespassing on the territorial waters of either country, according to one of the team members.
Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, retired judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and member of the India-Pakistan Judicial Committee on Prisoners; Iqbal Haider, former Law Minister; and Karamat Ali, trade union leader and peace activist, accompanied by peace activist Jatin Desai, met Mr. Hazare at his village Ralegan Siddhi. Speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Ali said Mr. Hazare told the delegation that he would demand the release of the fishermen and their boats.
According to Mr. Ali, there are about 250 fishermen from the Sindh (in Pakistan) and Gujarat areas languishing in jails, in both India and Pakistan.
“Mr. Hazare supported our demand for an institutional mechanism to address the problem. The water boundaries need to be demarcated,” he said.
The delegation also discussed with Mr. Hazare corruption and poverty in Pakistan. Mr. Ali said it would pass on the lessons learnt from the visit to human rights activists and civil society in Pakistan. “The collective conscience in Pakistan too has been heightened because of the movement [of Mr. Hazare] that was based on mobilising the public opinion and educating them.”
Mr. Ali said corruption was rampant in Pakistan as well. “Raja Jehangir Akhtar has been fasting in Islamabad, inspired by Anna. Anna has extended his support to him, and wished him luck.”
“Corruption is a major issue in South Asia. I am sure a movement will emerge in each of the South Asian countries. There is need to bring in strong legislation and institutional changes,” Mr. Ali said.
Mr. Ali said the anti-corruption crusader accepted the team's invitation to visit Pakistan. “Mr. Hazare told us that he will surely come to Pakistan as soon as his health permits him.”