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173 Indian prisoners return home after release from Pakistan

NEW DELHI(PTI): The fishermen were arrested for fishing in Pakistani waters. Pakistan and India routinely detain fishermen for entering each other’s waters for fishing.

One hundred and seventy three Indians, most of them fishermen, who were imprisoned in Pakistan, returned home via the Wagah Border in Punjab on Tuesday. On crossing into India from Lahore, the released and relieved Indians touched their foreheads to the soil as an act of deliverance.

Both countries maintain that the prisoners issue is a humanitarian one and should be taken in that spirit. “We used to work a lot there. We didn’t get proper food. We were completely distraught. But I am happy that I am going home after 11 months and 16 days. We (India) should also release their (Pakistani) prisoners,” said Krishna, one of the released prisoner.

The fishermen were arrested for fishing in Pakistani waters. Pakistan and India routinely detain fishermen for entering each other’s waters for fishing. They mistakenly enter other’s waters as there is no demarcation of maritime boundaries. India shares an expansive oceanic border with Pakistan without any perceptible demarcation and fishermen on both sides ignore rules while netting their catch.

“The India and Pakistan border in the sea should be demarcated so that we are aware of it. We should get our boats, which has been confiscated, because it is our livelihood,” added another fisherman Raju.

Pakistan had released 40 Indian prisoners in November last year.

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