Pakistan | Indian prisoner dies in Karachi, Pakistan to release 199 Indian fishermen on May 12

KARACHI: In a goodwill gesture, Pakistani authorities are expected to release 199 Indian fishermen arrested on charges of illegal fishing in its territorial waters on Friday. Another Indian national, who was to be repatriated along with 199 fishermen, died during this period, an official said. Qazi Nazir, a top police official in the prisons and corrections department in Sindh, said they have been asked by the relevant government ministries to release the 199 fishermen on Friday and make preparations for their repatriation. These fishermen will be sent to Lahore and handed over to the Indian authorities at the Wagah border. These fishermen are currently lodged in the Landhi Jail here. Also read He said that Zulfikar, an Indian national, died in a hospital in Karachi on Saturday due to illness. Zulfikar was also to be released along with the fishermen. He said, “According to Landhi jail officials, the Indian prisoner had complained of high fever and chest discomfort and his condition had worsened last week. He was sent to the hospital, where he died due to lung infection. An official of the Edhi Welfare Trust, which transported these Indian fishermen to Lahore and provided other assistance to them in jails, said in reference to Zulfikar’s death that Landhi and Malir jails do not have adequate arrangements and facilities and sick prisoners are regularly and One has to struggle for proper treatment. “The prison doctors and hospital do not have proper facilities and equipment to treat patients with serious ailments and they recommend shifting the patient to another hospital but many times it is too late,” the official said. According to the ‘Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy’, 631 Indian fishermen and one other prisoner are currently lodged in Karachi’s Landhi and Malir jails despite having completed their jail terms. Adil Sheikh, who works with the Forum in Karachi, said that all these Indian fishermen were lodged in Pakistani jails after they were arrested for allegedly violating the Maritime Territorial Demarcation Treaty between Pakistan and India. “Almost all the poor are illiterate people,” he said. According to prison officials, in the past also some Indian civilian prisoners died in hospitals due to diseases. A total of 654 Indian fishermen are lodged in Karachi jails, while an estimated 83 Pakistani fishermen are lodged in Indian jails. Of the 654 Indian fishermen, 631 have completed their sentence and are awaiting release. (agency)

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