Pakistan released 220 Indian fishermen as a goodwill gesture amid strained bilateral relations after recent cross border skirmishes. According to Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, around 156 Pakistani fishermen are incarcerated in Indian jails while 439 fishermen in Pakistani jails who are waiting for their release. These numbers surely paint a sorry picture for the behaviour towards held fishermen.
Still hundreds of fishermen are stranded in jails on both side of the border waiting for their release. Usually fishermen are ordinary people who in search of their catch sometimes cross a maritime border between India and Pakistan. But after they are held in other country, fishermen hardly get any attention in their own country and remain in jails for years. In reality after being captured, fate of fishermen only depends on the diplomatic goodwill gestures of a country. Until a country decides to release them they keep languish in jails.
India should also reciprocate gesture of goodwill by releasing Pakistan fishermen lodged in Indian prisons. One of the main reasons that they remain incarcerated for years is because no mechanism exists for their repatriation. At the moment relations of India and Pakistan are strained but unconditional dialogue to solve bilateral issues is the need of time. Because there is dire need to form a bilateral mechanism to end plight of fishermen.
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