In his letter on June 17, under the caption ‘Lukewarm response’ Mr. Muhammad Khan Sial made a startling disclosure that 222 Pakistani fishermen are languishing in Indian jails, including 161 who have been imprisoned for the last 19 years without conviction. While the exchange of prisoners between the two countries takes place regularly, with the Pakistan government’s recent gesture of releasing 150 Indian fishermen recently, the detention of such a large number of Pakistani fishermen for two decades without trial by India, is not only injustice but also an act of cruelty. Our government must lodge a strong protest urging India to release our fishermen.

It is surprising that the officials dealing with the subject, both in India and Pakistan, do not understand that the fishermen are not criminals. It may be noted that the water jurisdiction of a country, in the international sea is not marked like boundaries on land. With no ‘land-marks’ to indicate the boundaries, they remain unidentifiable. It is sad that no one has made any effort to simplify the procedure of arrest, detention and release of such drifting fishermen. This needs to be done to protect our fishermen from being harassed uselessly.


Lahore, June 19.