PTI Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan
Jan 15, 2017, 12.14 PM
At least 135 Pakistani fishermen are languishing in Indian jails, the country's Foreign Office told the Supreme Court.
Of them, "98 are awaiting consular access, two prisoners are awaiting their repatriation to Pakistan and 35 are awaiting their national status to be confirmed", the FO stated in a report handed to the country's highest court.
The FO report also mentioned that 121 fishermen were released by India in 2015 and just 9 in 2016.
The Foreign Office compiled the report after Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum and the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research petitioned the apex court to urge Islamabad to make efforts to repatriate those detained in Indian jails.
However, the counsel of the two organisations who filed a petition with the Supreme Court said the number of the fishermen could be much higher as there are many whose "names are not available in the list compiled by the Pakistan high commission (in India)". He said the country's interior ministry had a larger number than that provided by the Foreign Office.
Pakistan, meanwhile, has released over 400 detained Indian fishermen in the last two months.
India-Pakistan maritime trespassing is mostly common among fishermen operating from India's Gujarat state and Pakistan's Sindh province due to their geographical proximity.