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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Pakistan releases fisherman prisoners as a “goodwill gesture”

    By Michelle Dang

    Staff Writer

      On April 5, Pakistani spokesman, Muhammad Faisal, announced that Pakistan would be releasing its Indian prisoners in four phases starting on April 8th.

      The Pakistani government planned on releasing 360 of the 537 Indian prisoners in Pakistan; 355 of which were fishermen and 5 were civilian who were not fishermen. On April 8, 100 prisoners were released and on April 15 another 100 prisoners were released. In the third phase, on April 22, another 100 were released and on April 29, the final 60 prisoners will be released.

      The cause of this occurrence began on February 14 where a Kashmir terrorist group sent a suicide bomber to India that killed over 40 Indian soldiers in the Pulwama attack. In retaliation to this, India sent out air strikes to hit the terrorist camp in Pakistan. These events stirred new tensions between the countries.

      Because of the stress between the nations, Pakistani foreign officials have decided to begin releasing their Indian prisoners from captivity to prevent further repercussions from the Pulwama attack.

      Faisal told Pakistani media, “It is hoped that India will respond positively to this decision by Pakistan.”

      The Kashmir conflict that began in 1947 between Pakistan and India started because of territorial issues between the two countries. The two nations fought in three wars against each other before resulting in the Line of Control. This prevented citizens from either country to cross its territorial borders.

      Since this border was enacted, many fishermen and civilians have been arrested due to the fact that there is no clear distinction of where the border lies in the Arabian Sea. Since these boats don’t know exact locations, the two countries can arrest any fishermen within the area who have crossed the line accidentally or on purpose and hold them prisoner in their respective jails.

      These prisoners can stay locked up for several months up to year because of the delay in bureaucratic and legal procedures.

      “I along with 43 other fishermen was arrested by Pakistan coast guards for entering into the neighbouring country’s territory in December 2017. We were lodged in a Karachi jail in Pakistan,” stated Rohit, one of the fisherman released by the Pakistani government.

      Over time, the amount of prisoners held captive within the states have grown with 347 Pakistani prisoners in India and 537 Indian prisoners in Pakistan.

      The fishermen that were released were taken from Karachi, Pakistan to Lahore, Pakistan and handed over to Indian officials at the Wagah border.

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    Pakistan releases fisherman prisoners as a “goodwill gesture”