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Nov 11, 2012 at 11:17pm IST

Pakistan releases 15 Indian fishermen as a goodwill gesture

Karachi: Fifteen Indian fishermen were freed from the district Malir jail in Karachi on Sunday with authorities claiming that their release was part of goodwill gestures towards the neighbouring country. The fishermen left the Malir jail to travel to Lahore by bus from where they will cross into India through the Wagah border ahead of the Diwali festival.

"They will be handed over to Indian security forces tomorrow (Monday). The order to release them came this week from the Interior ministry and is a goodwill gesture," Malir jail superintendent, Nazir Shah said. He said so far 693 Indian fishermen had been released from his jail.

The fishermen had been arrested on charges of violating the country's maritime boundary, Indian fishermen are routinely arrested by Pakistani Maritime Security forces for straying into Pakistan's territorial waters most of the time by mistake due to the absence of any clear demarcation in the Arabian sea between the territorial waters of the two countries.

Pak releases 15 Indian fishermen as a goodwill gesture

The fishermen will be handed over to Indian security forces on Monday.

"These fishermen are brought to the jail by the Docks police station after being produced in court," Shah said, adding that he was happy at the release of the Indian fishermen as they would be able to spend Diwali with their families. An official in the provincial home ministry said that the Indian fishermen were released on humanitarian grounds because of the Diwali festival.