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Pakistan frees 87 Indian fishermen

In a goodwill gesture, Pakistan on Sunday released 87 Indian fishermen arrested for allegedly violating its territorial waters and would free 86 others later this month.

The fishermen, who had been languishing in prison for the last two and half years, were released from Landhi Jail and will be handed over to Indian authorities at the Wagah border. Faisal Edhi, who heads private charity the Edhi Foundation, arranged the train journey for the fishermen on Sunday and gave them gifts and some cash. Jail superintendent of Landhi Jail Shakir Shah said that 86 more Indian fishermen would be released on March 20.

He said a total of around 536 Indian fishermen were in jail, serving varying terms.

Fishermen are frequently arrested along with their boats by both India and Pakistan as the maritime border in the Arabian Sea is poorly defined, and many fishing boats lack the technology needed to be certain of their precise location.

Some of them spend years in jail before being repatriated.

In the past, the two nations have released each other’s fishermen as goodwill gestures.

India and Pak had agreed to revive the dialogue process when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Islamabad for a summit, but the same month 66 Indian fishermen were arrested by Pak.
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