x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Pakistan releases 55 Indian fishermen to mark India's Independence Day

The release is part of an understanding between the countries to free citizens who mistakenly stray into each other's waters.

KARACHI // Pakistan yesterday released 55 Indian fishermen, 15 of them teenagers, as a "goodwill gesture" to mark Independence Day in India.

The release is part of an understanding between the countries to free citizens who mistakenly stray into each other's waters.

"Some 55 Indian fishermen have been released from our jail on the instructions of the government," said Nazeer Husain Shah, the superintendent of Malir district prison in Karachi.

"Those released include 15 teenage boys," he said.

The Indians were presented with flowers and gifts, then bused to the eastern city of Lahore, from where they would cross the Wagah border.

Officials say 100 Indian fishermen are still in Pakistani jails and 250 Pakistanis in Indian prisons.

Ayaz Soomro, a law minister for the southern province of Sindh on the Arabian Sea, said the releases were "a goodwill gesture".

"We hope our neighbours reciprocate in the same spirit and release Pakistani prisoners from their jails," he said.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence in 1947, two of them over the Kashmir region.

Last year they resumed their tentative peace process, which collapsed after militants from Pakistan killed 166 people in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.