ISLAMABAD   -  Pakistan authorities on Sunday released 100 Indian fishermen as a gesture of goodwill despite the aggressive attitude of New Delhi against Islamabad. The fishermen had been arrested over trespassing into Pakistani waters by the PMSA. The freed prisoners would be taken to Lahore from Karachi Cantt Railway station at 1pm on Monday (today) after being released from the jail and later they will be handed over to Indian officials at Wagah border.

Moreover, 260 more fishermen will be released in phases. Edhi Foundation is bearing travel expenses of the recently released Indian fishermen. It is pertinent to mention here that the Federal government had decided to release overall 360 Indian prisoners in April, as the nuclear-armed neighbours scale back from a confrontation that prompted world powers to urge restraint. “Pakistan has decided that 360 Indian prisoners – having breakup of 355 fishermen and five civilians, who have completed their term of sentence, will be released,” Muhammad Faisal, spokesman for the Pakistan Foreign Office, had told reporters on April 6.

He said that the prisoners would be released in four batches starting from April 8. Due to the rocky relations between the two sides, prisoners who have completed their jail terms often languish in each other’s jails for months, if not years, afterwards. According to the lists exchanged by both sides in January, there are 347 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails, 249 of whom are what the spokesman described as civilians and 98 fishermen.

There are 537 Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails, 483 of whom are fishermen.

“We hope that India will reciprocate this,” the Foreign Office spokesman said.