A total of 180 Indian prisoners, including 179 fishermen, left Pakistan for their homes early on Saturday morning after completing their sentences in Karachi.
The prisoners travelling in four buses were going to India via Lahore.

After the release of these 179 fishermen, there are still 362 Indian fishermen in Pakistan jails serving their sentences.

Some 391 Indian fishing boats are being held by the Pakistani authorities.

The fishermen were seen off at the Malir Jail in the city by a large number of Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum members and retired justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, who with the assistance of others had worked to secure their release. The released Indian fishermen were travelling under police escort.

The police would take them to Lahore from where they would be handed over to Indian authorities at the Wagah border on Sunday morning.

The buses transporting the fishermen were scheduled to make two stopovers for lunch and dinner at Moro in Sindh and Sadiqabad in Punjab, respectively, sources said.

The Indian fishermen had unintentionally entered Pakistani waters and were caught by Pakistani security forces.

They were tried and sentenced and after completing their sentences finally left for their homes.

The only Indian who was not a fisherman had strayed into Pakistani territory was caught by Pakistani border security guards. He also returned with the fishermen.

Retired justice Zahid on the occasion urged both the governments of India and Pakistan to refrain from arresting fishermen of the two countries when they accidentally entered the other country’s waters.

He suggested to the authorities of the two countries to just confiscate the intruding fishermen’s catch and tell them to return to their country as was usually done by other neighbouring countries sharing territorial waters the world over.

He said that India had similar arrangement with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka so similar method could be adopted by India and Pakistan as well.

He urged both the governments to expedite citizen verification process and it should be completed within a month.

The cases should also be completed quickly so that after completing their sentences, the fishermen could go home, he added.

The sea border between India and Pakistan also comprises Sir Creek which is located between Sindh and the Indian state of Gujarat.

This area is not demarcated and in the absence of a definite borderline, fishermen from both the countries are frequently caught by sea security forces of the two countries.

The fishermen have to languish in jails of the rival country for a long time and their boats are also confiscated and even after they are released, their boats are not returned to them which keep rotting in the sea.

There are 42 Pakistani fishermen, who had strayed away into Indian waters and serving their sentences in Indian jails.

India is holding 183 Pakistani fishing boats also.