Pakistan to release 57 boats of Indian fishermen

Updated - May 23, 2016 04:38 pm IST

Published - July 21, 2014 07:18 pm IST - Islamabad

Pakistan has decided to release 57 fishing boats of 150 Indian fishermen, who had been freed in May as a goodwill gesture, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Following the release of 150 Indian fishermen ahead of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to New Delhi in May, Pakistan has now decided to release 57 fishing boats that were in its custody, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

A nine-member Indian delegation wrapped up a three-day visit to Karachi on Sunday to inspect the boats and discuss ways for the release with officials of the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA).

A follow-up visit of Indian officials would take place sometime in August to oversee the repairs before they are returned in mid-September after repair of the boats, Xinhua reported citing the Foreign Ministry.

Indian fishermen and boats are often apprehended by PMSA authorities when they violate Pakistan territorial waters, it said.

Usually the boats are not in seaworthy condition and are not returned.

However, following instructions from Mr. Sharif to return these boats, the PMSA made hectic efforts to ensure that the boats are returned to their rightful owners.

“The government of Pakistan views the issue of prisoners as a humanitarian one and continues to make efforts for their release as soon as their prison sentence has been completed,” the Foreign Ministry said.

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