The Pakistan authorities have released another 200 Indian fishermen and handed them over to the Indian authorities at the Wagah border.
Three other civilian Indian prisoners were also released.
This is the second batch of Indian fishermen to be released since Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s visit to the Indian state of Goa last month. He attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Ministers and held bilateral meetings on May 5.
Pakistan decided to release 600 Indian fishermen held in Pakistan jails when Bilawal was planning to leave India. Many people expected a thaw in the relations between the two countries during his visit. However, the visit ended with the Indian foreign minister launching into an outburst against Bilawal and Pakistan.
However, Pakistan still released the first batch of 198 fishermen on May 11 as a goodwill gesture.
The second batch of 200 fishermen was released on Friday. A third batch will be released in July.
Foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Friday that the release of the fishermen is in line with Pakistan’s policy of not politicizing humanitarian matters, adding that compassion should take precedence over politics.
These fishermen were arrested for illegally fishing in Pakistan’s territorial waters in the Arabian Sea.
According to reports, the fishermen locked up in Malir Jail in Karachi were transferred to Lahore Railway Station via train where they were handed gifts and Rs5,000 each by the Pakistani authorities.
Indian and Pakistani fishermen are routinely detained by both maritime agencies on charges of illegally entering each other’s territorial waters.